My first ever job, that did not include crying babies or cranky toddlers, was as a Pharmacy Associate for May’s Drug (now Drug Warehouse) in Broken Arrow. You know, the one over on the corner of 71st and Lynn Lane. That’s the one! I had such fun working there! I learned a lot; not just about my work but about myself.
One of my favorite things to do, if there was ever some real downtime, was to talk to our customer who came in filling various prescriptions. There’s one story I heard that I will never, ever forget.
We had a customer who came in on a fairly regular basis for his wife. Sometimes she was with him but most often not. They were older, 70’s or 80’s, and had spent their lives together starting about age 17. Normally the pharmacy is one of the busiest departments of any store, especially a drug store, but one day he came in when I had absolutely nothing else to do. I went out and sat beside him on the bench and will never regret that decision. I learned more about life in the 10 minutes I spent talking with him than I’ve learned before or since.
I asked him how he met his wife and I will never forget the story he told that day. It was the middle of the 1940’s. They were both at a Fourth of July party with hot dogs, and cotton candy, and other vendors swarmed with multitudes of people. He was with a couple of his friends just talking and hanging out when all of a sudden she was in his arms. Her friends had lit a couple fireworks under her chair and she jumped; straight into his arms. His words that day as he told his story, with a smile on his face and tears in his eyes, are words I will always remember. He said, ‘I held on to her and never let go’. Those words, the wistfulness of his voice, and the faraway look in his eyes as he told his story, encompass the definition of what I believe life is all about. It’s holding on and never letting go.
There are things in life that are concrete, responsibilities we gain as we grow up and go to college, get married, have a career or kids or any combination of these things and more. One thing I walked away with that day was not to just hold on to every moment given to you but to reach out and grasp those things that might otherwise hurtle past.
I imagine this is how God loves us. He loves us so much that He holds on and doesn’t let go. Some of us love Him back. Some keep Him at arms length. Some refuse to love Him. But always He loves us. How amazing is He that through all the things we do or say; He is always right there waiting, with open arms, still so full of love for us.