Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Vanishing Breed

"I say then, Hath God cast away His people?  God forbid....God hath not cast away His people which He foreknew.  Wot ye not what the Scripture saith of Elias?  How he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, Lord, they have killed Thy prophets, and digged down Thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.  But what sayeth the answer of God unto him?  I have reserved to Myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.
Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace."
Romans 11:1-5 (KJV)

The other evening after Kevin left for work,
Zachary and I felt the need to get out of the house.
So, we went to one of our favorite restaurants about six miles from home.
It is a buffet-style barbecue place
with the most wonderful homemade tomato pie.
I would be willing to pay the full price
if that were the only item on their buffet bar.
THAT is just how good it is!  :)

One time I asked for the recipe,
and they sold it to me for a quarter.
Of course, when I came home and tried making it, 
mine didn't quite taste like theirs!

I have tried making a quick version of it
by placing two pieces of white bread on a baking sheet,
spreading mayonnaise on them,
placing fresh garden tomatoes on top of the mayonnaise,
then putting a layer of cheddar cheese on top.
I put it under the broiler for about three minutes.

It makes the bread just crunchy enough to be scrumptious,
and it melts the cheese over the tomatoes.
Actually, it is quite delicious....
but not as good as the tomato pie at the barbecue place.

While we were eating,
while I was relishing every blissful bite,
I happened to look over and see a sight that
warmed my heart and almost made me cry.

There was an elderly couple seated several tables away from us,
and they were sitting on the same side of the table,
very close together.
They were holding hands,
and both of their heads were bowed in prayer.
He was praying out loud.
I couldn't peel my eyes away from them.

Quickly, I whispered,
"Zachary, look!"
We both sat there, mesmerized,
watching them,
and as we watched them,
I prayed,
"Lord, bless them."

I turned to Zach,
and in a sad tone of yearning, I said,
"Zach, people like that....
those kind.....
are a vanishing breed."

It did my heart so much good to take in that scene.
Made me think of Mom and Dad sitting there.

He prayed for what seemed like a long time,
there was nothing hurried about them.
They took their time,
and when he finished,
they both turned to face each other, simultaneously,
like it was something that came as natural to them as breathing,
like they had done this a million times,
like it was second-nature,
and they kissed each other on the lips.

The woman looked my way,
caught me staring at them,
and she smiled a sweet, little sheepish-kind of smile....
I felt like I had been peering into something sacred...
something very private...
and intimate.

I smiled back...
a smile that I hope conveyed my admiration,
my appreciation,
my gratitude...
to them for being old-fashioned
and for speaking volumes of Godliness and love
by their simple routine
before mealtime.

After Zachary and I finished eating,
we had to pass by their table to leave the restaurant.

I just couldn't help myself.

I stopped.
I told them how much it had meant to me to see what they did.

He said,
"We do that every time we eat a meal.
There is never a time that we do not do that."

I told them how much I long to see things like that.

She spoke up and said,
"I love the old ways.
The old ways are better."

I agreed.
Oh, how I agreed!

He told me he is 87 years old, and she is 78.

Their love has stood the test of time.

I thought of all of the broken homes in our world.
How young people seem to go into marriage with 
the mindset that it is disposable.
That if it doesn't work, 
they can just toss the relationship away,
and move on....
to greener pastures....
and never look back.

Whatever happened to keeping one's vows?
What ever happened to longevity in relationships?
Where a couple stays together....
for life?
Through wealth and poverty,
health and infirmity,
good times and bad.

Without a doubt, I'd say that little, elderly couple have weathered some storms.
They've undoubtedly gotten on each other's nerves...
at least a time or two.
They've tended to one other's sicknesses...
probably more than once.
No doubt, they've hit some financial snags,
faced some disappointments,
mixed some tears.

So, what keeps their marriage strong?
How do they do it?
How have they done it all those years?

I have a strong suspicion
that the answers to every one of my questions lie....
in their little mealtime routine.
They seemed adamant about never missing that.
I'd venture to say they've neglected that habit
very few times through the years.

That is what has held them together.

It is hard to fuss and fight....
when your heads are bowed close together in prayer.
It is impossible to be mad.....
at the one who is asking God to bless you.
It is difficult to not feel pity...
for the one who has prayed you through time after time.

"The family that prays together stays together."

Why have we gotten away from that?
Why don't families pray together anymore?
Why have we forsaken the family altar?
When we know in our hearts,
that is what works.

Praying with Kevin is one of my favorite things in the world to do.
Seeing a grown man on his knees,
praying to God....
without shame,
without reservation,
without fear...
touches a place deep inside of me.
Makes my respect and opinion of him soar.

Kneeling in our living room with Kevin and Zachary,
taking turns pouring out our individual hearts to God,
approaching the throne of grace....together...
are some of my sweetest moments in life.

Praying together creates an atmosphere of peace...
and love...
and respect...
for God and each other....
and in the home.

I'm glad there are still people left
with this mindset...
who still place a strong emphasis on their faith in Almighty God
and the power of prayer.

Sometimes, I fear that they are becoming extinct...
that they truly are a vanishing breed.
I get depressed and feel like Elijah in the cave,
when he felt that the whole world had forsaken His God.
God opened His eyes to see
that there were 7,000 just like him...
who still held to the old paths...
who still stood firm in their belief in Him.

I'm glad that every now and then God opens my eyes, too,
and lets me see people like the sweet couple....
to let me know that the faithful still remain.
Who aren't ashamed to pray over their food in public.
Who would die before they forsook their convictions.

I'm thankful we can learn from their stalwart example.
That we can follow in their footsteps...
that we can keep the tradition of prayer alive...
in our lives and in our homes....
and we can know that our outcome will be the same as theirs.

The formula still works.

As I looked to the older couple....
yearning, longing, wishing to see a Godly example,
to see someone holding to the old paths,
perhaps there are others....
with this same craving.

I wonder if there could be someone who is looking to me...
to be the example....
to shine the light....
to let them know that
faith in God is not extinct....
that it still works....
that the vanishing breed is still very much alive.... 
and well.

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