The old man stood in the church’s parking lot and watched his nephew pace back and forth in silence. Finally, the young man sighed and squatted on his heels.
“Something on your mind?” his uncle asked, smiling.
The younger man glared. “Uh, yeah. Just the fact that I’m getting married in less than an hour!”
“So, what’s the problem?”
“Am I doing the right thing, Uncle Joe? I mean, I’m only 25. I haven’t done half the things I wanted to. And if I get married now, and then we have kids, I may never have the opportunity again. There will be too many things at home demanding too much time and attention.”
“Do you love the girl, Jim?”
“Well, sure, I do. I love her more than I’ve ever loved anyone in my life. I can’t imagine my life without her. But there are so many other things to think about and do with your life. Is love really enough to build a successful life together?”
“The right kind of love is.”
His uncle stepped closer. “Let me tell you a story, Jim. When I was just about your age – a little older, actually, I was courting a young lady. She was beautiful and smart, and loving – everything a man could hope for in a wife. And she could cook – my goodness! Her blueberry muffins were the best I’d ever tasted – even to this day. One day, I asked her to be my wife, and she accepted.”
“What? I never knew you were married, Uncle Joe!”
The old man took a breath before he continued. “The wedding was set for the following spring. She wanted to get married before the June bride rush. Around that same time, I was offered a temporary position in a company in Taiwan. Amy begged me to turn the position down. There was no way we could move the wedding up in time to get married before I left, and we would have had to postpone the wedding for at least a year – until I returned to the States. Well, Jim, I thought I had all the time in the world. I had every confidence in myself that I could go to Taiwan, wow the company executives, and then come back and claim a higher position in my own company, so that I could provide a better life for our family.”
“So you went to Taiwan and left Amy back here?” Joe asked.
“Yes, sir. I did. My mind was made up. Looking back on it now, I’m not so sure if I was confident, or just plain cocky. I thought I had the world right where I wanted it. That is, at least, until Amy decided that she couldn’t spend her life with a man who would place his love for himself and his job above his love for her.”
“So she left you?”
The older man nodded. “I still remember the last time I saw her like it was yesterday. She was weeping into my handkerchief when she told me she couldn’t marry me. She said, ‘What’s going to happen to us now?’ ‘You’ll be all right,’ I told her, ‘and I will, too. I have faith in myself.’ The look she gave me then was one of total disbelief. Up until then, she had trusted in my love for her, you see, but I didn’t love her with the right kind of love.”
“What’s the right kind of love?”
“Self-sacrificing. The right kind of love is being just as conscious of your wife’s needs as you are your own – being willing to give up some of the things you wanted to do with your life in order to blend your life with hers. After all, it won’t be just your life anymore, Joe. When you walk out of that church today, you will be starting your life with Anna. Can you honestly say that you’re willing to do that? Remember, you might lose her, otherwise – just like I lost Amy.”
The young man lowered his eyes to the ground for a moment. Then he stood, turned, and headed toward the church. He glanced back over his shoulder as he walked.
“I do love her enough to do that. Thanks, Uncle Joe.”
The older man smiled. “No problem. I’m confident that you two will have a wonderful life together.”
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