65 Years and Counting

by Don Meyer, Ph.D. | Apr 09, 2011

"Love is just a word until someone comes along and gives it meaning."

For months Evie and I have been trying to match our calendars to accept the invitation to go to Joe and Betty Weber's house for dinner. We set the first date about six months ago (literally) but illness and calendar conflicts caused a series of delays. Then came the holidays and out of town travel and more delays. But finally, a date worked and we made our way to their home for a most delightful evening. 

This was not our first visit. I first met Betty through her gracious correspondence after she read one of these weekly columns. After another letter or two, I invited them for lunch in my office. What a great time we had. 

About a year or so passed, they invited us to their home for dinner. After trying and trying to connect, Evie and I had been counting the days for another evening with the Webers. We arrived bringing with us a few VFCC mementoes and fresh flowers. 

Like always, they immediately treated us like family insisting that we relax and disconnect from our busy day while Betty put the finishing touches on a most delicious meal of pork tenderloin and sauerkraut capped off with mince meat pie and ice cream. With my German background, I couldn't have ordered a more delicious meal. 

Our evening was made up of what friends do when they get together after they have been apart for a long time. For us, it was almost two years so we had lots and lots to talk about. We listened to each other as we shared the highs and lows of our mutual journeys of faith all the while sprinkling in lots of laughter. 

Evie and I are always amazed at their genuine interest in all that is taking place at VFCC. Their probing questions inform us of their deep care for us and the mission we serve. When we update them on the latest accomplishment or venture their eyes sparkle as much as ours. 

But the reason for this article is not to give you a food critique or even a blow by blow of our conversation that evening. Rather it is to share with you one of the most remarkable messages that we received that evening. It is the message of the love they have for each other. 

You see, Joe and Betty have been married 65 years. In just a few days Joe will be 90 years old. Over the past months he has had some lingering health problems. We noticed a cane propped against a wall which assists his gait which has slowed slightly. Betty still plays tennis whenever she can, and even when she can't find a partner, she hits the balls across the net and then walks over there and does it again. 

Their minds are as bright, perhaps even brighter, than ever and their love for each other is as strong as ever. Their banter sometimes resembles newlyweds. They know each other's likes and dislikes. They have weathered many storms together. In fact, the very day after we were last with them their son had a heart attack right there in their home. 

They deeply love each other. That is obvious. They also have a spiritual devotion which is remarkable. All their lives they were active leaders in their church here in Phoenixville but they speak now of something deeper and richer about their love for God. 

As we soaked in the fragrance of their lives I could not help but tell them that they are role models for us. I am 65 years old and we have been married 43 years. As I often say, the calendar always wins and we trust that one day we will be able to care for and enjoy each other and live with the same depth and breadth as Joe and Betty Weber. 

Think about it.

Dr. Don Meyer is President of 
Valley Forge Christian College, Phoenixville, PA 
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