There is an image that will stay in my heart and soul forever to remind me that we are born for relationships.

Our new pastor came to our couple’s bible study recently to meet us and for us to share our vision for our church.   Although many of us have been together studying the word of the Lord for many years, there was new information shared.  Stories revealing lives of military honor, distant travels to exotic countries, interesting careers and much humor involving how each met their spouses were shared.

One of the husbands is a Vietnam Veteran who is suffering from the devastating effects of Parkinson’s due to exposure of Agent Orange while in the military.  His disease makes it difficult to walk and his speech has been somewhat impaired.

When it was his turn to talk, he struggled a little bit explaining the effect of his disease on his speech and looked over to the man sitting next to him.  The man next to him reached over to hold his hand and spoke, “Although we are at different stages of Parkinson, Quentin and I share this disease and he is an amazing example of strength to me.”  They continued to hold hands as Quentin shared about his amazing life and military career with grace and even humor.

It is that image of two men, one whose body is succumbing to the disease, while the other looks and sees his possible future.  Both fighting the same battle and reaching out to hold and support one another.  That is the image that is captured like a photograph and stored forever, in the camera part of my brain.  In that image I see the strength and the power of two or more gathered together.  I see the strength of an army battling a disease, and I can see God made visible in that relationship.

As my friend Doris affirms: “Relationships aren’t everything – they are the only thing that matters.   Relationships are what you take into eternity.  Everything else is just stuff. ”   It is our relationship with each other and our relationship with God that ultimately matters.

Thank you, Quentin and Steve for reminding me of the power of relationships.  May I never lose the image of you both in my mind, my heart and my soul so that I might be in true relationship with those around me and with God.