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White Dove

A Lonesome Dove

No life lived in love ever ends . . .

“It has been another endless day; the type of day where light and dark are indistinguishable, and she is tired, —so very tired.

Over the past several years her life has been filled with such days; a seemingly, never-ending cycle of mind-numbing, soul-draining days and nights, during which she has rarely been able to disembark the emotional roller coaster that, from her perspective, continues to careen out of control, and rule her life. It seems to require every last ounce of her strength, will, and determination, simply to maintain the status quo; for she, long ago, relinquished any illusion of controlling the factors which now dominate her life.

Medical crisis follows medical crisis; hope chases despair, which, in turn, pursues hope. Emotional peaks and valleys drive intellect and understanding toward rational chaos. Anxious days and terrifying nights filled with Rescue Squads, Emergency Rooms, hospital admissions and discharges, torment a mind filled by —'What ifs?,' 'What can I do?,' 'What will I do without him?', and, that which ceaselessly nags, 'Why?;' a repetitive refrain that has left her reeling in a chronic state of dazed exhaustion.

Throughout this ordeal, she has unceasingly beseeched Heaven. The unremitting pleas and cries of an anguished and tormented heart, watered by the hot tears of grief, ever ascend to the Throne of God.

Now she silently stands, enshrouded within the deepening shadows of twilight, in the corner of a room; a room which, until recently, she has shared with he whom she has lovingly spent the entirety of her adult life; a room in which he and she have shared life's victories and defeats, joys and sorrows, happiness and heartbreaks.

Although, by modern standards, a relatively small area, it adequately houses all of the cold and impersonal medical apparatus necessary to maintain the life of he who now lies sleeping within its confines, while allowing provision for little of a personal nature.

Within her field of vision looms the glistening steel rails of the hospital bed; a bed designed, not so much for the comfort of its occupant, but safety and ease of patient accessibility; a bed which bespeaks finality and loss, heartbreak and sorrow, pain and loneliness. Somewhere, in another darkened corner, spewing forth heat, rasps the mechanical gasps of an oxygen generating machine, periodically struggling to breathe, thereby forming an alliance with he whom it has been provided to serve. Atop a table aside the bed stand a staggering array of pills, potions, and aerosols, designed to busy the caregiver while yielding a sense of accomplishment and optimism.

To a visitor, the room and its Spartan furnishings are, indeed, foreboding and funereal in appearance, however she is unaware of the lengthening shadows and the cast of her surroundings. Her attention is undivided and riveted to the individual who now sleeps so peacefully; his breathing unusually steady and rhythmic, a marked contrast to the years of gasping and wheezing, of struggling for each breath; the battles of strength and endurance fought to stay by her side.

He has been seriously ill for such a very long time; has suffered the ravages of emotional and physical torments. Now his body has deteriorated to the point where he is no longer able to leave this bed. Throughout, she has, to the best of her ability, ministered to his every need as nurse, companion, confidant, and loving wife.

Plainly visible are the wisps of white rumpled hair, the wrinkled, careworn face, and the corrupted, discolored flesh. She can sense the hand of Death reaching toward he with whom she has shared her earthly existence, yet she does not truly perceive any of these things, for the vision of heart has broken forth to shake physical reality.

Her thoughts, unbidden so to do, flow swiftly and fluidly through time. Time is no longer linear, no longer her master, but a beloved servant through which she can escape the rending fears and persistent worries of the present by retreating to the blissful, fragmentary memories of what once was.

No, she doesn't see the failing, mottled flesh creased and eroded by an apathetic disease mindlessly pursuing its own inevitable destruction, and the powerful medications that are necessary to ease his suffering and open clogged airways. Nor does she see the thin wisps of white, disheveled hair, bleached by the passage of time. His physical appearance long ago ceased to be of any importance, for love perceives a reality far truer and far beyond the narrow constraints imposed by the physical senses.

She sees, for memory projects, the young man with whom she experienced the awakenings of corporeal love as well as a depth of spiritual love; the young man with the wavy, brown hair, clear, sparkling blue eyes, crooked smile, strength of convictions, aspirations, hopes, desires, high morals and personal integrity; the young man with the quick temper, who was obstinate to the point of willful stubbornness; the young man whom she married and with whom she would gratefully share eternity.

Throughout the years, their love has grown, matured, ripened, and bloomed via the many trials and tribulations of life, until the distinctions that separate one from the other, have become blurred and virtually impossible to discern. It seems that they now share much the same thoughts, ideas and ideals, aspirations, desires, and dreams. Their eyes have become mirrors of one another's soul, yearning to draw ever nigh the fount where True Love flows, unrestricted and unsullied throughout eternity.

Almost half a century has seamlessly passed since their initial meeting. Much has traversed the distance between them, unspoken and unknown to others. They have shared a life fraught with hardships, disappointments, and regrets; a life marked by endless toil and little material reward; but, above all, a life through which love reigns transcendent, and happiness shines through quiet smiles, and sparkles amidst teary eyes.

Quietly she prays to He who is paramount in her life. While reason bespeaks an end to this earthly existence, she prays for a miracle. If he cannot be healed, it is her desire that they make the final exodus together. Unrealistic? Perhaps, but sorrow and sadness ever dwell near earthly love. When love is physically separated from its object, there is grief indescribable. A heart is ruthlessly torn from its moorings and begins to drift far asea until rescued and firmly anchored in the Source of all true love.

She hears him call her name, —and awakens; awakens to solitude and the most sorrowful silence; a silence broken only by the breath of winter's sleep and somewhere nearby, the cooing of a lone dove.

'Twas but a dream; a tapestry woven of a heart's cries and interleaved with the sorrow born of physical separation; embroidered with the golden threaded filigrees of love. For it is love and love alone which beholds the ultimate reality; which distinguishes between superficial and substance, fact and fiction, spiritual and corporeal; and which embraces the heart of another by embracing the heart of God.

God gives us sorrow as surely as He gives us happiness. In all things, God's purpose is love. The greatest of God's gifts and the mightiest power among men is innocent, pitying, self-sacrificing love; for true love is a manifestation of Divine grace.”

(From the book, A Love Eternal, by Jerry D. Babb
© 1996 White Buck Publishing)

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