Follow by Email

Monday, February 21, 2011

Mr. Frank

I know a hero when I see one. Our culture places that label on too many people who are undeserving often failing to recognize the true heroes that surround us. Kobe Bryant is no hero. He plays a kid's game for millions of dollars so he can act like he is above the law. Neither are most of the people who appear in our movies and our TV shows. There are a few exceptions...very few. But most of them approach life as if they are entitled to what they have, like we owe them something. Heroes understand that this is not the case.

I met a hero a few weeks ago. Actually, I met two of them. Their names were Frank and Ruth.

Lisa and I were in East Tennessee leading a marriage retreat for a friend's church. It was a great group of people who came from all stages of life. Frank and Ruth were a part of that group. Together they had spent over 63 years as a married couple. In that time, they had faced a lot of things together. A lot of things. The kind of things that cause most modern marriages to fail. Financial struggles. Disagreements. Tough times. But, together, they had faced them, overcome them and become stronger because of it.

Friday night at the retreat began with Mr. Frank sharing some of his best jokes. Then he and Ruth sang a couple of songs together. It's a moment I won't soon forget. By the time they had finished their second song, I was completely intimidated. How do you teach a couple that's been married 63 years how to improve their marriage? I wanted to give them the microphone and sit down and take notes.

In my own way, I did. I took notes all weekend. I watched two love-birds as they showed me what marriage is all about. They talked about faith. They joked and laughed a lot. They smiled often. He opened her door. She looked at him as if he had just walked off the high school football field and won her heart all over again.

Do you understand why they became my heroes? I only knew them for three brief days and they made a huge impact on Lisa and me. I was blessed because of the time we shared.

Last night, Mr. Frank went to be with Jesus--a sudden heart attack, I believe. I would appreciate your prayers for Ms. Ruth. Her best friend of 63 years is gone. But I have no doubt in my mind he has received his "heroes welcome." Thanks for running the race so well, Frank and Ruth. I was watching...and I was changed.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. Hebrews 12:1 NLT

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ridley,
What a nice tribute to such a beautiful couple. We are fortunate to be his preacher/preacher's wife at this special time in their lives and there is no greater earthly example of true love this side of heaven than these two. Frank and Ruth have taught us much in the four years we have known them.
There will be a void in our congregation as we let go but we have the blessed hope that he has just gone on before and is getting ready to show us around the Kingdom when we get there.
He will be sorely missed. Thank you for the kind words you said about him. And yes, he truly is a hero.
Joy Whitt

Anonymous said...

Ridley--

Thank you SO MUCH for this touching and loving tribute to Mr. Frank Wyatt (and Mrs. Ruth). They were such a real couple who showed us all how to have a marriage/friendship that lasts a lifetime. He was such a "larger than life" man...so full of joy, love and great jokes. He will be sorely missed. Can you imagine what stories he's telling now, after just a glimpse of Heaven? Praise the Lord!!! Thanks again.
God bless,

Leigh Owens

Anonymous said...

Ridley - I sent your blog entry to many members of our church. I am now sitting here at work listening to our local Christian Radio station, WLFJ, in Greenville, SC. The evening DJ just mentioned you and Lisa and he read your blog entry about Mr. Frank on the air.
Wow, what an impact this man had on so many and what a great tribute.
Joy Whitt

Anonymous said...

We have been blessed to attend church with Mr. Frank and Mrs Ruth and to say he will be missed seems to be such an inadequate use of the vocabulary God has given us. Such a beautiful couple can only come from God's perfect creation. Thank you Lord for choosing to allow us to share time with such Godly people. Please keep Mrs Ruth in your prayers. Joyce Ables

Christy Meetze said...

We too are Frank & Ruth's fellow church members. They stole our hearts the moment we met them. They are such a godly example to all who meet them. Watching their walk with Christ and their love for each other and their family has changed our lives forever. The memory of them singing arm in arm at the couple's retreat will be a cherished one for years to come. I pray that we can be the godly examples to our 3 sons that they have been to their family and so many more. I can't imagine how much Mrs. Ruth will miss her best friend for over 63 years! Please keep her and their family in your prayers.
God Bless,
Christy Meetze