He is 90. She is 90. They are in Vancouver, British Columbia today being wheeled in their chairs onto a cruise ship for 10 days. 15 days ago he was in intensive care hanging onto life by a thread. She has dementia. They are both frail in mind and body.
On her 90th birthday he gave her the cruise. They love Scrabble and played daily for years. In spite of 3 broken ribs from a fall, he insisted he had to go to the store and personally pick out the appropriate card. He put Scrabble cubes in the card. The cubes spelled "Alaska cruise."
When she opened the card she needed some help putting the words together but when it finally dawned she threw up her hands and yelled. A little later he was sitting in his chair with his legs crossed. She toddled over and told him to uncross his legs. He said, "What in the world is the matter with you?" She said, "I'm gonna sit on your lap." And she did. He looked up with a little smile at four grown children and their spouses and said with a twinkle and little smile, "Don't you all have something you need to do or somewhere you need to go?"
These two have served each other and their Lord for almost 70 years! After the fall of the Soviet Union when they were both 70, they went to Ukraine for three separate missionary commitments. They have served the Lord together in their home, in business, in church leadership, in friendships and mentoring relationships, in responsible stewardship of time and money and in raising a pretty spectacular family for almost 70 years. These two wonderful people have 6 children (12 counting spouses which they definitely count), 21 grandchildren (all but three married or engaged for a total of 39 and counting) and 24 (and counting) great-grandchildren.
My brother and his dear wife (my sister) are along for the "ride." They will be serving him and her 24/7 for the 10 days of the cruise and the air transit to and from York, SC where he and she live.
I surely wish I could have gone along or snuck into a suitcase because I think this is going to be the adventure of a lifetime for two people who still love each other and Jesus passionately!
We - his and her children - all decided that even if they don't come back from this trip and just go to heaven together that it's okay. That's how they want to go anyway! They would love for a fiery chariot to show up along the Alaska shoreline to whisk them right up into the presence of Jesus! And hard as it is to say so from my heart - it WILL be okay if that happens!