Saturday, 5 March 2011

WRITING ~ Love Not Limited to Valentine's Day

I received a rather odd telephone call this morning. Mary, an elderly lady in my community was phoning, because she was curious and wondered if I could shed any light on a rather mysterious subject. Mary had been at a banquet and another lady, named Alice Ramsay, (who used to be from this general area but now resides in Lloydminster), had shown her a clipping from a recent issue of The Edmonton Journal.

Someone in the Camrose area had cut it out and mailed it to Alice and asked her if she knew who the author was. Alice didn't know, so she asked Mary, as the article said the author lived at Neilburg.

Of course Mary didn't recognize the name "Rena" (it's my first name that I never use in my day-to-day life) and she couldn't remember the name of the author, other than it was a "Ramsay."   I didn't have a clue what she was talking about and was quite confused for a moment. Then I said, "Mary, was the name 'Rena?' " When she said it was, I knew what had happened.

Apparently an article, that I'd submitted to The Journal's "Offerings column" on their Religion page, sometime prior to my January 2009 wedding, had been kept in a file until now, when the Editor had dug it out and decided to publish it! Since the paper no longer pays an honorarium for these kinds of articles, I had quit submitting them and checking their website each week.  Consequently, I was unaware that it had even been printed! I had just assumed any unused submissions had been discarded long ago.

When I hung up, from my conversation with Mary, I "googled" my name and up popped the article on my computer screen.

You certainly never know what a day might bring forth!

Here is the article:

Love not limited to Valentine's Day

By Rena Ramsay, Edmonton Journal February 19, 2011

As I sat in the darkened auditorium, waiting for the concert to begin, I watched them. It only took a glance to see the obvious. They were "in love."

He seemed oblivious to those around him, his eyes fixed on her alone. She, too, appeared to be enjoying the evening out and smiled up at him from the confines of her wheelchair.

When they were young, they must have been a handsome pair, I mused. Now, since she had undergone facial surgery some years before, her smile was contorted. Still, an inner beauty shone through her countenance.

As I continued to observe, he reached over the metal chair rail and clutched her gnarled hand in his, in a simple gesture demonstrating the eloquent words of the poet Robert Browning: "Chance cannot change my love, nor time impair."

Jim and Gladys didn't need chocolates or roses or fancy cards to express their emotional bond, although, no doubt, they gave gifts to show their deep affection. The love that first blossomed between them, more than 60 years before, had been faithfully nurtured throughout their lengthy married life. In this day and age of disposable relationships and rising divorce rates, their lives provided me, and others, with a vibrant example of the true fulfilment a lasting marital union can bring.

"Lasting relationships don't just happen," Gary Smalley writes in For Better or For Best. "All too often, people marry before acquiring the knowledge and skills necessary to take care of their mates: to meet their emotional, mental and physical needs." He believes the "ideal marriage evolves when the wife concentrates on meeting her husband's needs and the husband concentrates on meeting his wife's needs. That combination builds the lasting qualities of a giving relationship."

The Apostle Paul outlines the charcteristics of true love in 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8. These scriptures set a high standard and often we don't live up to them. We aren't always patient with those closest to us. We hold grudges and doubt one another's integrity. We demand our own way and fight for what we believe to be "our" rights. At these times, we have forgotten how true love acts.

"To love is to choose," wrote Joseph Roux in Meditations of a Parish Priest. Sometimes choosing to be loving is difficult. It might seem easier to throw in the towel than to attempt to rebuild a faltering relationship; yet choosing to make the effort can often reap rich rewards.

Many resource books, videos and organizations offer support and communication tools to couples determined to sustain their love for a lifetime. Utilizing these resources can assist in the development of a strong and lasting marriage, like the one Jim and Gladys shared.

Make a choice to demonstrate love to those around you, not just on Valentine's Day, but every day of the year.

Rena Ramsay is a stay-at-home mother and freelance writer who lives in Neilburg, Sask. She attends Family Worship Centre in nearby Cut Knife.


Offerings is your opportunity to express thoughts on religious issues.

Submissions up to 750 words can be sent to: Religion Department, The Edmonton Journal, Box 2421, Edmonton, Alta., T5J 2S6 or e-mail:

Please include a few lines about your faith tradition and involvement in your place of worship.

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