Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Love Story

Let me share with you one of my favorite and true love stories. I learned about the story very late in its development. One night I went with my husband to a company dinner party. I sat next to an older man who was there with his wife. She had suffered a stroke, so he would lean over to cut her meat and help her with her food. His manner was very tender and caring. As he finished the meal, I said to him, “You are so good to your wife.”

His reply: “Why shouldn’t I be? I love her.” Then he told me about their courtship and their life together. “The first time I saw her,” he said, “was at a party in Canada. She was giving a reading. She had long golden curls and wore a beautiful white eyelet dress with a pretty blue satin sash. I was so impressed by her that I told my mother that that was the woman I was going to marry. Mother laughingly indulged me. I went on my mission, and when I came home she was engaged to another. I was asked to take a special assignment by the bishop, and when I protested he told me that if I would always put the work of the Lord first I would find that the Lord would always take care of me. I made the long trek to Salt Lake City. When I came home, she had broken her engagement. We started to date, and then we married.”

His wife rarely accompanied him in public after that dinner. It wasn’t long until her condition worsened, and she was completely bedridden and virtually unable to speak. He was a General Authority and went out on his regular conference assignments to visit and counsel the Saints. He would always come home and tell her all about the conference. One day as he finished, he teased, “If you are not going to speak back to me, then I am not going to tell about my experiences. You must not love me anymore.” Tears welled up in her eyes, and with great effort she found enough strength to form the words, “I do love you.” It was difficult and extremely slow, but with great effort she got the words out. He decided he would never again treat their love lightly, for their love went beyond even her crippling physical impairment.

At the funeral of this special woman, Zina Card Brown, every speaker commented on her love both for her sweetheart, President Hugh B. Brown. President Marion G. Romney said, “Wherever she was she was a loving lady.” President N. Eldon Tanner declared that President Brown was so successful because of her love. President Kimball said that the love of President and Sister Brown was such that they would soon be together again everlastingly. Her love pulled them toward immortality—a beginning of eternity.

- Barbara B. Smith

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