Your Witness: what does any one life really mean?

by Mark Heckler
(Maryland's Eastern Shore)

I retired a year and a half ago. My wife didn’t. She is two years younger and seems actually to like work, or perhaps needs it to stay busy. I didn’t and don’t.

We met when I was 17 and married when I was 20, nearly 41 years ago. In the grand scheme of things I have already won the lottery of life. On our 25th anniversary trip to Aruba back in 1999 fate smiled on us once again, as we met and for seven days were inseparable from two amazing ladies from Cleveland.

Serendipity you might say, as we have been the best of friends ever since. It seems right that we got together, because as we were checking in to our all-inclusive, beachfront resort the horror of Columbine was happening live on the lobby TV.

Anyway, my wife wanted to visit them in Cleveland for the long Memorial Day weekend and our son and daughter-in-law wanted to go along and help with the driving. I just didn’t quite feel like it this time, so I opted to stay home to dog-sit our two and their two.

They left early Friday morning and returned late in the day on Tuesday, so I was alone in the house for four nights with our dogs. I usually do very well alone as I consider myself great company. But this time I felt my aloneness acutely and missed my wife greatly.

It called to mind something I heard in a movie a few years ago; at the time our son had been divorced for eight lonely years, and I was becoming intensely worried about his prospects for happiness.

To quote, “We need a witness to our lives.

There's billions of people on the planet... I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you're promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things... all of it, all of the time, every day.

You're saying to your spouse: ‘Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness.’

I had copied that passage into the family journal I kept for the better part of 35 years to give to our children, and when I found and re-read it in my hour of loneliness, I didn’t feel lonely any more. Even though my wife was 400 miles away in Cleveland, enjoying friendship and a full weekend of partying, I knew she has been my witness for the past 40-plus years, and I slept peacefully that night.

I hope you have a witness to your life too.

Comments for Your Witness: what does any one life really mean?

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great piece
by: Gerry/Omaha

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and emotions. Congratulations also for keeping a journal for 35yrs. wow. You are so right to pause and take an inventory for what we have to be thankful for...we take so much for granted. Everyone have a great Independence Day.

by: Gail/Carlsbad

You are a nice person. Very thoughtful and introspective. You could insppire others with a Blog.

Your Witness:What does one life really mean
by: Elna Nugent, Lenox, MA

You have posed the big question.

When I was a child, a tragedy occurred one cold winter in our neighborhood. A friend my age asked me to go skating down at the river. I told him my father had said the ice was not safe, even on the nearby brook. I was forbidden to go near the river, summer or winter. He said" Just tell your dad you'll be skating in Brucie's back yard." I just said, "No please don't skate the river."

That day was one of the worst days of my life but changed me forever. This friend drowned in the river that day, and I spent the rest of my life feeling I should have tried harder to talk him out of skating.

From that day on I decided I was going to spend the rest of my life trying to find out "what we are doing here on this earth and for what purpose. "

It took many years and many unbelievable experiences to teach me what purpose we have being here. I wrote about it in my published memoir realizing most people would not be able to believe some of what I said. I even wrote about certain experiences in my weekly newspaper column.

All I can say is that you can believe from the depth of your being that you are most certainly on this earth for a specific purpose, much of which you may already have fulfilled.

I could never understand why my mother worried about whether she should get the drapes cleaned and not wonder what we are doing here on earth.

Someday I will share more of what I discovered and needed to know. Blessings.

Author/writer Elna Fone Nugent

by: David2/SOCAL

That is a great story, thanks. It helps out.

well now I am depressed
by: Rose Raintree Arlington Wa.

Well, while this is a beautiful testimony to your wife and what she has done for you.

Many of us, and I am one, has not been blessed in this way so I am praying that this is not the only way my life has meaning.

I am hoping that in my son and granddaughter and my friends and those I cared for as a nurse for 35 years will also be a witness to my life.

We all were not as blessed to have a life partner and I am very happy you have been, and thankful to God that there are many other ways to give witness to one's life here on earth as well.

WOW... very thoughtful.
by: Wendy

This is really thought provoking... I love it!

I pray that every retiree reading this has (presently or in the past) a witness to their life... and that they've been a witness to many others.

We all need to be needed in some manner -- and that is one reason why retirement knocks the wind out of us.

Suddenly, the FREEDOM we couldn't wait to experience -- is a little meaningless. Nobody cares. Nobody asks us questions. Nobody needs our help. It's like you fell off the radar of life.

BUT make yourself useful to someone, anyone, and that all turns around. Make yourself useful again... don't hide indoors. You will honestly get a feeling of well-being from helping others... seriously.

Mow a working neighbors yard, buy groceries for someone homebound, send the busy mom next door something special you've baked or even a loaf of wonderfully crusty bread. Do something special for someone... the rewards are great!

One last thing, if you are thinking... I'm not well and I can't mow yards. I don't have extra cash lying around to spend on others... Stop it right there. No Negativity. Consider your many options to make a difference in someone's life - TODAY.

Tell a joke to a depressed looking cashier. Ask someone at the doctor's office waiting room if they'd like a piece of gum. Start a conversation, just wildly out of the blue, with someone waiting...

Do Something. Heart Something or Someone TODAY.

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