But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid it. – Matthew 25:18
I saw Lucy the other day. She was still alone. Perhaps she’ll always be that way. By now she has become so empty, so depleted of life that there’s hardly anything of her left to give away. There is only enough life left to pity.
She hadn’t always been that way. I remember her as being so alive. There was a time when she was so excited, so busy, so needed by those who craved her blessing and support. She was the living image of the then All-American Woman: Manager of the home, mother of two children, Navy officer’s wife, and professional volunteer. At that time her life was complete with all the trimmings: two-story house, smiling kids, manicured lawn, social friends, and local “helping committees” clamoring to sign her on. For Lucy, it was a typical storybook ending, before its beginning.
The change was quick, sure, devastating. It occurred early in the evening. Lucy and John, her husband of eighteen years, were sitting in the den watching TV. John decided to take an early, quick shower during the commercial break. Lucy was to call when the movie resumed. Stopped by a massive heart attack, he never heard her call.
With John gone, Lucy returned from the funeral, went into their house and closed the door. The world was left outside. It hurt too much to see others continue to live; smiles were an insult, laughter a crime. She was not prepared to be alone, for although she had known many people, she knew herself least of all. And the task of living was so large for one so unprepared – she had never written a check, never gotten gas in the car, never filled a prescription, never shopped for the family. She didn’t know if she was rich or poor.
An old friend, I think of her often, living off in the distance and now in the past. They are painful thoughts. Memories of a once vibrant soul, now alone and empty. Memories of one, who in joining in marriage where “two become one,” gave up most of herself. Life can be tragic, cruel, and the future, although always filled with hope, is nebulous to control. John was gone. The life, the talents given to Lucy had been buried along the way (Matthew 25:18), her death preceding even his. Marriage, although the sharing, merging of two souls, must never be a funeral, but a new birth.
Prayer: You have blessed each one of us, Lord, with various gifts. Help us to invest ourselves and our lives and to never give up hope for future growth and service. Amen.