According to one book review, A Promise Kept: The Story of an Unforgettable Loveby Robertson McQuilkin is a personal account of how the New Testament Professor and President of Columbia University gave up his career to care for his wife who was suffering with Alzheimer’s disease.
In his journey, McQuilkin received advice from well-meaning friends that he should consider getting a caretaker or placing her in a nursing home so he could be free of the responsibility (these are worthy considerations and may be the best option). But McQuilkin decided to do neither. Instead, he decided to live out a promise he made before God on his wedding day. For richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, and for better or for worse, he vowed to love her, take care of her and protect her, for as long as they both shall live. He wrote, “My wife needs me to accompany her and walk by her side to complete the final stage of her life.”
When McQuilkin resigned from his presidency, he said, “She has cared for me fully and sacrificially all these years; if I cared for her for the next 40 years I would not be out of her debt. Duty, however, can be grim and stoic. But there is more: I love Muriel. She is a delight to me…I don’t have to care for her. I get to! It is a high honor to care for so wonderful a person”.
It was all about A Promise Kept.
The following is a quote from Dr. Lewis Smedes. It is one of his teachings that influenced me the most.
“Yes, somewhere people still make and keep promises. They choose not to quit when the going gets rough because they promised once to see it through. They stick to lost causes. They hold on to a love grown cold. They stay with people who have become pains in the neck. They still dare to make promises and care enough to keep the promises they make. I want to say to you that if you have a ship you will not desert, if you have people you will not forsake, if you have causes you will not abandon, then you are like God.
What a marvelous thing a promise is! When a person makes a promise, she reaches out into an unpredictable future and makes one thing predictable: she will be there even when being there costs her more than she wants to pay. When a person makes a promise, he stretches himself out into circumstances that no one can control and controls at least one thing: he will be there no matter what the circumstances turn out to be. With one simple word of promise, a person creates an island of certainty in a sea of uncertainty.
When a person makes a promise, she stakes a claim on her personal freedom and power. When you make a promise, you take a hand in creating your own future.”
My wife and I live in a faith-based retirement community even though I am not yet retired. Down the hall lived a wonderful retired couple. As nice a couple as you would want to meet. The husband is doing fine. His wife is slowing losing her way. She spends most of her time in a unit that cares for those in our community who are having difficulty remembering things.
This husband has chosen a different route to care for his wife as she spends time apart from him in assisted living, but his commitment to her is still very deep and utterly profound. For him, it is all about A Promise Kept. I see his life revolving around his beloved. He is wholly dedicated to her. He is keeping his promise. He is such an encouragement to me.
I am around couples who are in the final chapter of their life’s story. Many of them have already lost their beloved. But for those who have not, it is an absolute inspiration to see how they love and care for their significant other in this season of life. I wish everyone could see what I see…where the norm is all about A Promise Kept. It’s not impossible.
Something to think about …