A tale of 2 weddings
Julie grew up on a farm, left to go to college and become a teacher. Along the way, she hitched up with her “forever man,” who after several years of marriage, left her unexpectedly. She returned to her family’s farm in southwestern South Dakota and lived with her parents. In the fall she took a new teaching position with no idea of what the future would hold. She ran a swather for her neighbor during summers and kept on keeping on. She began to think how she could help others and spread her wings. The second summer she went on a short-term mission trip. As things would go, her absence worked out well with the haying schedule, as though it was all planned.
Her sister prayed that Julie would meet someone with a romantic interest in mind.
Julie’s two-week mission trip took her to the Ukraine where she was with a group of other English speakers — British, Australian and other Americans — including a farmer from Nebraska. After she returned, she started talking about the people she had met and mentioned that the group had discussed having a reunion within the year.
Soon Julie only spoke of the farmer as she continued her teaching year. Miles traveled up and down the road, visits back and forth led to setting a wedding date nine months after meeting on a Christian mission trip.
Dagmar, also a school teacher and ranch woman, endured several traumatic years as her husband first was injured in an accident, then got cancer which took a long toll on both of them before he passed away. Dagmar kept teaching and added trips to doctors and treatments to her already busy schedule. Labors of love cannot be measured; you do what you have to do, and comfort with love.
As she entered her last year of teaching before retirement, Dagmar had the desire to find out what else might be out there for her. She placed an ad in a farm magazine and met her match. A man from Kansas contacted her, the letters and phone calls began in earnest. His wife had also died of cancer and he knew he had more living to do.
Dagmar and the Kansas man are retired, have grown children, a love of gardening and trees, a deep Christian faith, a zest for life and life experiences with many parallels. They married in the summer and she moved to his location where they began life anew.
All of the grieving that Julie and Dagmar have done has receded behind a fog that grows denser each day. Looking forward, the sun shines brighter with every sunrise. They learned and so can you, if you are in a season of grief, take heart. Things do get better with time.
Sanders writes from the family farm in southwest South Dakota.
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