I thank the Lord I still have mine here to talk to.
Love That Lasts Forever: by Rev. John George Gibson
She told me she loved me. She said I was her darling. She said I was more to her than all the boys in the world. She said I was all her own. Then she said I was handsome, and prophesied that years would bring health and position. She did more—she kissed me. Into that kiss she put the feeling of a life-time; all the hopes of an eternity.
When sickness came she was present—ready like a ministering angel to wait or serve. Her kindly hand drawn softly across the fevered brow stole away the fever and deadened the pain. She would hold the patient’s hand in hers till he was calm enough to sleep, and then with that hand in his he would dream of a life without sickness and disappointments. After a long while he would waken to find her still there, holding his hand. “You have had a good sleep?” Yes. But how much of it was due to that waiting, sitting presence that never moved while the sleep lasted?
Years passed. I grew older, she grew older. There was no separation. I needed her, she needed me, so the life of service continued. The home was mine, the service was hers. The position was mine, the satisfaction was hers. She knew no life but the life she lived in me and for me. Every service done for me was to her full of beauty. She did not care to be seen as long as I was noticed, or heard while I was listened to. First in the morning to make all things ready, last at night to see that all things were safe.
People wondered why she was so quiet, they thought it strange she never came to the front. She gave no reasons. She knew; I knew. I was the fruit of her work, her waiting and nursing. She had preserved my life; without her the feeble spark would have gone out. She found her life in mine. Mine was younger, more expressive and up-to-date, and therefore she was content. If I spoke well it was because she had acted well. If I had climbed to a position it was because she had given me the strength to climb. If my life was public it was because hers had been so faithfully private.
Still the years passed, years that will never be described in book 01 on platform. They were our years. With them the public never had any business and never will have. Our home life was sacred. Those who tried to look through the key hole did it to their sorrow. We kept our home as our temple, and told none of its mystic rites. The sacrifices we offered were our own. The prayers we spoke and the confessions we made were our own.
As we lived and worshipped and suffered I noticed she was not what she once was. Too much watching, too much service had weakened her physical powers— she was failing. Then her love had been too strong. It had burned so brightly that the frail lamp had cracked.
Her eyes lost their brightness, and the lines appeared on her face. The summer of life was passing—the autumn with its new tints, its shadows and falling leaves, was coming.
Yes, sadness was coming and we could not prevent it. We had journeyed together so long that we never thought the parting of the ways would come; but they did come. It is always the unexpected that happens. I must go, she must remain. The parting hour came— “goodbye.”
“Why do we say it when the tears are starting?
Why must a word so sweet bring only pain?
Our love seems all-sufficient till the parting,
And then we feel so impotent and vain.”
The embrace, the soft cheek pressed against mine’ the white face looking out of the window, the waving hand,and
“The deed is done,
But now I go and go alone.”
For her the change was too great. The dear, faithful soul could not bear to live with only the memories of the past around her. One year passed, and before I could receive word the white-robed minister had laid her to rest beside other weary pilgrims. He did it kindly, not officially, for he was not chosen because of his white robe. He had been a true friend in the days of sickness. And she sleep well, though her grave is not marked. Eight years have passed and no fresh flowers have been laid upon it. History will never know her name. Charity will never raise a monument to her virtues. She never was rewarded and never will be rewarded by material things, but
“From ouf the past
Looks forth that face to cheer me.
Oh, do not ask me to forget
If memory brings her near me,”
And away in the Golden West—seven thousand miles from that grave—there are two lives that flow in one channel; two hearts that beat in one rhythm—one quiet, the other public; one unknown, the other prominent—and their sweetest memories, their closest communion, their dreams of heaven are found in that one simple word—mother.
“Nearer and nearer day by day.
The distant voice doth come;
Soft through the pearly gate it swells
And seems to call us home.”