Part 3 of my story

But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.  He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him.

Luke 10:33-34

I’m getting more and more enthusiastic about telling this story. Upon reflecting with my husband, I realize how wrong I would be to not to tell this story of the colorful past I had before Living Room and before the pain that followed.

Are you remembering the good parts of your life? Or have you, like me, been focusing too much on the pain?

I spent three months at Riverview, was discharged, and re-admitted a few months later. During the intervening time I met Wes, the person who would be my partner for the rest of my life.

Wes came into my life at this most difficult time. He must have liked me although, even then, I talked up a storm—something he has a hard time dealing with today. He was truly special, sticking with me when I spent another six months in hospital. Who else would have done such a thing?

When I started getting weekend passes Wes would spend Saturdays and Sundays with me. He loved his Triumph sports car, so we spent a lot of time going for drives. There were a couple of occasions—not many—when he took me where we would be around other people. In those days the medications were not like today’s and patients were frequently over-medicated. As a result, it was often obvious that they were mental patients. That was true for me too. But Wes did not show any shame about being seen with me.

Wes spent a lot of time in our family’s home on those weekends. And on Sunday nights he joined us to have the fried chicken dinner my mother always prepared. After dinner came the drive back to the hospital. Always a bit late arriving back, we had to bang hard on the heavy metal door to be let back in. My heart would sink to know I had another week in this dreary place.

Two or three years after my discharge from hospital, when I was doing much better, we were driving on Hastings Street in Vancouver when I mentioned to Wes, “So, when do you think we should get married?” A proposal wasn’t needed. We both knew that we were meant to spend our life together. We started planning.

May 3, 1969, was our wedding day. It wasn’t an expensive affair. We saved our money for something more important—the honeymoon. So, the day after the wedding, we flew to London to begin a five week road trip through Europe, seeing as much as we could in that time. It was the first of many trips we would take—to many different places.

I can’t tell you enough about what my relationship with Wes has done for me. His steadfastness gave me a sense of security. Sharing our photography hobby became a big part of our marriage and gave us something we truly had in common. He was patient with me when I became difficult, trusting that I would not always be like that. Loving me nevertheless.

How might my life have turned out if I didn’t have Wes at my side for those fifty-four years of marriage we have behind us today? I can’t imagine it. How was it possible for a person like him to stick with me all these years? A person with my history. A person with my many problems.

Only One could have done all this for me. Only God could have loved me so much to have worked through this man’s kindness and love for me. And today I can see he had a plan for my life all along.

This Christmas time—as I pause to reflect, I’m wondering why he led me to tell you this story. Where should I begin and where should I stop? What will most feed you in the way you need to be fed?

God helped me to see that you might be inspired by hearing about the good I experienced in the midst of great trials. I believe that you too could gain confidence as I did—bit by bit, no matter where you might be today.

Looking back as I am this evening in December 2023, I am seeing how big a part God was playing in my life, long before I knew him. And when I came to believe in him and trusted him, I started to allow him to lead me. I started following Jesus, trying to be like him—to be his hands and voice and feet, I grew into the kind of person God could use.

God is looking after you too. When you look back at all the good parts of your life, can you see how he was at work, even during the difficult times? Maybe it was because of your difficult times that you most felt his presence, as I did.

Perhaps you too should be telling the good parts of your story.