Sunday, March 11, 2007

Until Death Do Them Part

Drink in the beauty of this picture...
I will tell you a precious, tear-producing, heart melting story soon.

I have never met this aged, frail couple, and will not meet her, now, until my death is upon me.

In this picture you see Mr. and Mrs. Burns Bornes. She passed away just this Saturday. I did not know she had died when I posted this picture on Sunday. My account will be all the more beautifully painfully to recount because she is gone.

In my last post, "Life and Death by Ministry," I introduced you to retired OMF missionaries who now reside at an assisted living home called Lammermuir. Burns is, and Rachel was, among those servants who are slowly passing away.

Burns and Rachel left all and followed Christ to East Asia. They were missionaries when it was not as "easy" as it can be today. It was dangerous. It was expensive. It was risky. And they loved every minute of it. I have yet to hear their whole story, so I only know bits and pieces of what their life has become in the last 2 months.

Just 6 weeks ago Rachel's health was failing so quickly that the care-givers at Lammermuir realized it was time for her to be moved to the nearby nursing home. JoLene, primary administrator of Lammermuir, says that Burns and Rachel are still as vibrant, in love and gracious with one another as they must have been 50 years ago. She knew the news of Rachel's move would be devistating.

So she concluded that she must tell them seperately, first Rachel, then Burns. I do not know details here... but when JoLene told our staff this story we shed many tears. Once Burns was told that Rachel would be staying at the nursing home, not coming back to Lammermuir ever, he cried. He walked out of the room to where Rachel was.

Hardly able to walk without excruciating pain, Rachel stood and as quickly as she could, moved to Burns. He covered the distance faster than she and they embraced. And they cried.

Wrinkled. Frail. Aged. After nearly 70 years of marriage they would soon be seperated.

Once Rachel was moved to the nursing home Burns called people every day to ask, "Can you take me to Rachel?" Thankfully, many faithful people did.

He sat by her side, talked to her and came home alone each night. She could no longer eat. Her body refused all liquids. She was slowly dying.

Burns did not want to believe what he was hearing when the doctors began to say, "Only a few more days." The pastor, who took Burns to see Rachel, overheard Burns asking her, "Do you still love me? I love you." He made his customary bird calls by her window and she smiled.

She died in her sleep Saturday morning.

Many of you might have heard the new song by Mark Schultz called, "Walking Her Home." It makes me bawl now, for I can only picture Rachel and Burns. What love, what devotion and what faithfulness they had for eachother. You might as well cry too and read the lyrics:

Mark Schultz - Walking Her Home
From the album Broken & Beautiful
Looking back
He sees it all
It was her first date the night he came to call

Her dad said son
Have her home on time
And promise me you’ll never leave her side

The way she laughed, the dress she wore
He’d never felt like this before

He was walking her home
And holding her hand
Oh the way she smiled it stole the breath right out of him
Down that old road
With the stars up above
He remembers where he was the night he fell in love
He was walking her home

Ten more years and a waiting room
At half past one
And the doctor said come in and meet your son

His knees went weak
When he saw his wife
She was smiling as she said he’s got your eyes

And as she slept he held her tight
His mind went back to that first night


He walked her through the best days of her life
Sixty years together and he never left her side

A nursing home
At eighty-five
And the doctor said it could be her last night

And the nurse said Oh
Should we tell him now
Or should he wait until the morning to find out
But when they checked her room that night
He was laying by her side

Oh he was walking her home
And holding her hand
Oh the way she smiled when he said this is not the end
And just for a while they were eighteen
And she was still more beautiful to him than anything
He was walking her home
He was walking her home

Looking back
He sees it all
It was her first date the night he came to call

Go ahead, it is ok to cry and when you do, pray for Burns.

Farewll Note from a Single Servant


Kathie said...

what a beautiful tribute you have written for such a sweet godly couple. I hope someone in their family sees it.

Katie said...

That is a very lovely story--the type of marriage I want to have!

Anonymous said...