As I think of this, I hear Billy Joel singing quietly...
It's sad and it's sweet and I knew it complete
When I wore a younger man's clothes.
For the last few months, Dad has been trying to get Mom to go to church.
That might not sound radical, but it is. Long before "spiritual but not religious" made its way onto match.com profiles, Mom and Dad lived a deep but quiet faith without Sunday morning services or Wednesday night prayer meetings. They've always been suspicious of people who declare themselves to be Christians but behave in very un Christ-like ways.
And now, Dad wants to go to church. Mom gave in last Sunday and they went together to the church that sponsors the program where we cook for the homeless. The people there welcomed them warmly, and Mom and Dad were both glad to have gone. This morning, Dad was feeling well enough to drive a load of blankets from the church to the shelter.
I asked Mom why she thought Dad wants to go to church now, after all these years.
"He thinks he's going to die," she said.
"Well, yes. But what does going to church have to do with that?" I asked.
"He doesn't want to be buried...."
"No, Mom. That's not it. He's doesn't care where he's buried, and he's at peace with God. Dad doesn't want to go for himself. He wants you to have a community after he's gone. He's making friends to carry on for him, to take care of you when he can't."
"Oh...oh.... He is, isn't he?"
Yes, he is.
It's sad and it's sweet, and incredibly complete, the love this man has for his wife. How many of us can say the same?