My Grandmother Emily June ( Markins ) Haymen lived almost two months longer than her husband. Even though she had Alzheimer's, it appears her soul couldn't live on this earth without her soul mate. Grandma would died Monday October 14th 2012 of a massive stroke. She is joined in heaven by her husband, sister, daughter ( my mom ) and parents as well as many family members.
Once quoted in the local paper my grandparents were asked what was the key to being married for seventy something years. Their answer? Three simple rules. Number one, keep God in the center, number two never go to bed upset at each other, and number three always learn to laugh. I am sure there were many other ":rules" that Grandma and Grandpa learned to live by, but those are pretty simple. This was a true love story. Every couple has a song that means something to them and this was theirs.
Til there was you
There were bells on the hill, But I never heard
them ringing, No, I never heard them at all
Till there was you.There were birds in the sky
But I never saw them winging,No, I never saw
them at all Till there was you. And there was music,
And there were wonderful roses, They tell me,
In sweet fragrant meadows of dawn, and dew.
There was love all around But I never heard it singing
No,I never heard it at all Till there was you!
There was love all around But I never heard it singing
No I never heard it at all Till there was you
June and Cliff Haymen fell in love and were married on June 29th 1940 in Ohio. My Grandfather served in the Army in the 789th Division. My Grandfather is a veteran of the Battle of the Bulge. Soon after returning home they would start a family raising two girls.Grandma worked for Roseville Pottery along side my Grandfather. Their life journey would see them move to Illinois so that their two daughters could go to school at what was then Olivet Nazarene College.Grandpa graduated at the top of his class in business school while grandma worked and was eventually head of the printing department for the Olivet Nazarene University. Grandpa would work his way from security guard to assistant registrar at Olivet. Their two girls would graduate and becomes teachers in one of the local school districts. They also would marry and the family would grow to four grandchildren and eleven great grandchildren.That is something to speak of. Amongst this family many traditions were set. Most notably would be Christmas even and Christmas day. On Christmas eve the the family would get together for old family home movies, snacks, and horse racing prizes taped at a fair. Christmas day was spent having Christmas together as a family. In the center of all of this was God. What is amazing is that all have remained in the church and kept Christ as their base. What a heritage to leave behind for your family.
As I sit here today, I recall the last blog I wrote. My Grandmother had not yet died or even had a stroke.But I talked about my family issues that were going on and how I really didn't understand. I was telling a friend today that I moved to Ohio and it feels like I have dropped off the face of the planet to my dad and sister. In fact some of the family that is here in Ohio, rarely speak to us. I may never get the answers that I am seeking. I choose not to take a
role in this matter that would cause even more conflict. I took that
role before and it never helped. My mistake obviously. I choose this
time to let whatever dust that has been stirred up to settle. Then maybe
this situation will be more clear. But what I have learned is that
being a peacemaker in all situations is best. A friend reminded me today
of Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. I want to remain a child of God. I don't ever want to stray from that again. I can't say that having a spiritual life is easy. I know that God brought us here and what we thought were the reasons, turned out to be our reasons not his.But I do know that our kids and marriage have made big time leaps and bounds to what God intended. There are up's and down's and there are days where the devil digs in and reminds you of the past. Another friend once told me, when the devil reminds you of your past, remind him of his future. Mainly when those thoughts come I pray and ask the Lord to capture them for me. A tool and application I still use quite often. So at the end of it all I choose peace.
My grandparents had unconditional love for each other. We call it agape love. I am learning daily what it is to love this way. The things that I used to get hung up and would stop me, no longer do. I have said before that when you choose to love someone, you make that choice. While love is a feeling, it is also a choice and it is always changing, growing, shaping, finding new areas, and getting stronger. Raising a family in these days is difficult, There are so many challenges that a family faces. The divorce rate and family break rate is startling compared to simpler times. The one constant, is God. My grandparents kept Christ at the center and blanketed their life with prayer. Think about it, 72 years of a prayer blanket. God was with them through everything they faced. They made that choice to love God, to serve God, and to keep God where he belonged. That is a choice that my wife and I have made as well.
A great example has been set on how to raise a family and keep the family together as it grows. No one said it would be easy. No one said that things never change. No one said that there wouldn't be challenges. But someone said keeping God at the center of it all means peace after the storm, means longevity, means being blessed, means reward in heaven, means having a love story that never ends even after death do you part. I am not talking about the reunion in heaven. I am talking about the love story of generations of family to follow the heritage that was left. This is one Father, husband, and friend who has grasped onto it. Will I be perfect in trying to carry that heritage that was handed down? Of course not and I would be kidding myself if I thought for one second I would be. But... what I do know is this. I want to hand down the same heritage, legacy, and love story to my kids, to their kids, and their kids to follow. God is the ever lasting one. If we keep God in the heritage/love story handed down, it will also last forever.