Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.
I think the first clear memory I have of hearing this word a lot was in the cowboy westerns of the 50s and 60s. “Howdy, Partner!” says on cowpoke to another, both of them chewing on a stalk of grass or hay or whatever, hitching up their gun belts and shoving their hats up a fraction of an inch with a cocked thumb.
Of course, John Wayne used the word Pilgrim instead, and no one else has ever said it quite the same way.
These days, partner has multiple meanings and is used in many contexts. I think I’m going to opt for the one I know best–my husband. My partner, biggest fan, biggest encourager, best caregiver, hardest-working, godly and prayerful man I know.
We’ve been married for 48 years. That’s longer than many of you have been alive. In the early years, we both had a lot of adjusting to do. It was sometimes difficult for both of us, but we married for keeps. We were committed, no matter what.
As the years slip by, and your body begins to show wear and tear, the significance of the “One flesh” principle becomes more clear. When he hurts, I hurt. When I’m in pain, so is he. We may not feel the actual pain, of course, but whichever one of us is in need, the other steps up to the plate.
It’s been close to five years now since Terry took that fall and smashed his heel bone. He’s still in pain, although it is helped somewhat by some fascinating technology. The day I brought him home from the hospital, and as the nerve block wore off after surgery, his pain grew in such intensity that he says, now, that he thought he might die of it. I had to leave him alone to get a stronger pain prescription for him, and it nearly broke my heart. Had to be done, though, and when I got back, and after maybe an hour on the new medication, he began to get some relief. One flesh? Oh, you betcha! My stomach was in knots, and the tears rolled for both of us as he suffered.
Later, when my back started falling apart and up to right this minute, Terry moved into “my” jobs. He won’t let me do anything! I hurt terribly if I bend over, so I just don’t. He’s been doing all the laundry, shopping, cleaning, cooking. He won’t even let me help him make the bed. This is very hard for me. I’m a rather traditional woman, and all those jobs are supposed to be what I do. Surgery coming up on Aug. 22, and I can’t wait.
He hurts when I hurt. I see the pain in his face, and I understand his sense of helplessness that he can’t do anything to stop the pain.
We are indeed partners. The longer we live, the closer-knit we become. I knew an older man years ago whose wife had died of leukemia. He was in his 80s when I met him. I was talking with him one day, and he said this: “I never understood the one-flesh principle as well as I did the day my wife died. I felt as if half of me had been cut right off.”
So, is it worth experiencing that kind of pain and loss? Absolutely. In spite of the high divorce rate in America, I believe most people marry with forever in mind.
From Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem In Memoriam:27, 1850:
I hold it true, whate’er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
‘Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all