Today I heard a woman sharing about her journey through recovery. She had been able to maintain her sobriety for just over a year. However, she was beginning to doubt her ability to continue on her current path. As I listened, a pictured of my grandparents dancing at my husband’s and my wedding floated into my mind. I could see them moving effortlessly across the floor. Cheek to cheek, hand in hand, they danced as though it were second nature to them. His leading and her following. It was one of the highlights at our reception. We cleared the dance floor just for them. A light bulb came on, “OH, right, that’s why you stay!”
It doesn’t matter if it’s sobriety, marriage, health, children, school, or whatever part of life Life has called you to,there’s a pay off to not giving up. Nothing worth anything is easy. Nothing that means anything is easy. Treasures are called such because the aren’t easy to find. The reason to stay, is so you can experience the effortless dance, so you glide across the floor. My grandparents aren’t good dancers, they are experienced in each others arms. It’s not about being the best at anything. It’s about doing it, over and over and over. Sadly, we live in a culture where “easy” is the motto, where “if it doesn’t feel good”, then don’t bother with it. If you’re tired of it, quit. My grandparents, on the other hand, are from the WW2 generation, a group of men and women so powerful, so tenacious, they have been singled out as “the greatest generation”. The difference between them and us, they knew how to stay!
I began to realize as I sat there, for the immediate gratification of the moment, we have forgotten the ultimate power of the long term. I once heard a man who had been sober for over 40 years speak. When asked how he had stayed sober so long, he said, “I didn’t drink and I didn’t die.” He stayed and he just kept staying. Some miracles come quickly, instantly, in a desperate hour of need, but most, come slowly, over time, over lots and lots of time.
No one can promise that life will get easier or that more money will be made or that health will be guaranteed or that heartache won’t come calling. This side of heaven, as much as we want to know for sure it isn’t gonna hurt, that’s just not something we get. However, there is something much better.
When we keep praying, keep seeking, keep asking, keep staying, no matter what happens around us something deeply profound happens in us! Our core becomes sure. Our heart becomes rooted. Our mind becomes peaceful. Our breath becomes lighter. Our spirit becomes resilient. Our soul shines though our eyes, because we know the secret. We know what matters.
You see, my grandparents, have danced that dance to that song, over and over and over. At parties, at weddings, on new year’s eves, for well over 60 years, they have glided across hardwood floors in each others arms. They have lived through the depression, through war, through death, through life, as we all do in our unique versions. What they have done that most of us don’t do, is that they have stayed!
Now in their final chapter, they have foundation so solid that even the creeping grey of my grandmother’s forgetting mind can’t take my grandfather from her memory. She knows him, when she knows nothing else. The instability of his body, his frailness is in no way able shake her faith in his strength. They will leave this earth with the comfort of Jesus and each other. And I pray, they will leave it hand in hand and side by side. Whatever is in store for the years they have left, I assure you, the years they have had have taught me more than I can ever truly express. Should I have to boil it down to one word, what I’ve learned from them, I would say that word is STAY.
As Winston Churchill said, “never give up. Never never give up. Never never never give up.”
sending you love wherever you are in the world.