Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Kirby’s

Last week we visited TX for the first time and I had the honor and privilege of meeting Weldon and Margie Kirby. The Kirby’s are members of the Church of Christ and was instrumental in helping Jared fund medical school. It’s interesting how the Lord works and blesses you for your good works when you least expect it. Way back when…sometime in the 1970’s, Jared’s parents were in the U.S. Texas to be exact. Jared’s mom was a young medical practitioner and his dad was attending preaching school as a budding preacher. They met Margie and at that time she was married to her 1st husband who was an invalid. She had to care for him and Jared’s mom helped her changed his IVs and provided emotional and medical support. They did not expect anything in return…They helped out of the kindness of their hearts and because that’s what Christians are supposed to do.

Margie’s first husband died, and she later married Weldon Kirby. Originally, they owned a cattle farm but lost everything during a downturn in the economy in the 1980s. Almost instantly they were bankrupt! Can you imagine going from riches to poverty overnight? I’m not exactly sure how the story goes, but someone came and visited the Kirby’s and pointed out the stone in their yard. Little did they know they were sitting on hidden treasure…The bankrupt farm turned into Kirby’s Stone Company! And from there poverty turned to riches almost overnight!? Isn’t God awesome!

Sadly, Weldon was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1991. Please read his story on Michael J. Fox’s website. Scroll down to his name: http://www.michaeljfox.org/living_FacesOfParkinsons.cfm.

But even with his diagnosis, Weldon fought on…and lived on…He continued to faithfully serve God, his family, and helped others. We owe it to the Kirby’s for where we are today…And we owe it to Jared’s parents for being the kindhearted and loving people they are…because through their kindness their son was blessed. You reap what you sow…and they sewed good seeds…A lesson for us all.

Without the Kirby’s Jared might not have been able to attend medical school! There is nothing we did to deserve this favor. But they gave, out of the kindness of their heart…they gave…And we are where we are today because they gave.

So what a privilege to meet this fantastic couple! Weldon’s illness had progressed so we made it a priority to visit with them. This was my first trip to TX and I was excited to meet them! Little did I know what a profound impact they would have on me! My time with them was emotionally overwhelming, encouraging, tear jerking, and spiritually uplifting. When I was with Margie, I felt I was in the presence of Jesus. SERIOUSLY!!! In ways I have not seen before, I saw a devoted wife with demonstrated humility. With wide open arms, and high spirit energy she welcomed us into her home.

Over the summer the hard decision was made to place Weldon in an assisted living home. This was extremely difficult for Margie but she could no longer care for him on her own. The place was impressive to say the least! Clean, comfortable, professional and friendly! As I watched Margie’s interaction with Weldon my heart melted. She rubbed his arms and legs as he struggled to make a logical sentence (a side effect of the illness). It was hard to see him like this…Sometimes it was difficult to understand what he said as his words were mumbled. But never once did she have a frustrated or tired look on her face…Instead, she knelt by his chair, held his hand, and patiently asked him what he said…At times she would try to help him get his thoughts together by asking if he was referring to this or that. Other times she jumped in his bed and rubbed his leg as she listened attentively. When the nurses would ask her if she wanted him to eat now, she would immediately turn and ask him if he wanted to eat now. What this taught me is that she treated him like a whole person despite his illness…She did not make decisions on behalf of him (though that would have been easier). Instead, every decision from where to eat, if to eat, where to sit etc. was made by him because she took the time to ask him…Even if he was slow to respond or struggled to respond, she just waited patiently and looked attentively. Even if he responds, “whatever you think is best,” she looks at him and say, “no hon, what do you what?”

The day we visited he was having a bad day (he caught a bug and was sick all night) she asked him if he wanted her to stay with him…and so she spent the night. She affectingly told him, “you are my boyfriend!” and rubbed his leg as his hands and leg shook uncontrollably from the Parkinson’s… (I could cry!) Her devotion to him, her care for him, her love for him was AMAZING…I want to be half the wife she is…A couple times a week she would take him to their home and have him spend the day at home with her…other times she would spend the night with him. Of every love story I have watched…this is best one I have seen…And I can’t stop crying every time I think about it. I told Jared this is like a love story that does not have a happy ending…because he’s going to die…*sobs* Jared told me that no love story has a happy ending because we all die at some point…But it’s so unfair for him to die! And in this way!!

Mr. Kirby was happy to see Jared. His countenance lit up and he smiled. It had been 7 years since Jared was last in TX…Jared’s dad however, continues to be a regular visitor during his multiple trips to the US every year. At one time when he was speaking to Jared he seemed to have lost his trail of thought and struggled to say what he wanted to say…And then he said, “I hate being like this.” OH, my heart broke! I was fighting the tears!!! Every single day I was there I was fighting the tears! Then, Jared told him that he spoke with his parents and Mr. Kirby smiled…And then he said, “Tell them…tell them…thank you.” By this point I couldn’t stop the tears. NO, you are sick and dying, I thought to myself…and we should be the ones saying thank you…for all that you have done…not only for Jared and helping him through med school but also for helping Jared’s dad raise funds for the Jamaica School of Preaching…NO Mr. Kirby, THANK YOU!

Please pray for Margie’s strength…She is giving a lot of herself to care for her husband and needs all the prayers we can afford. This beautiful couple has touched so many lives and I am just honored to know them. When the bible talks about the older women teaching the younger women about how to take care of their husbands, this is what it was talking about! My prayer is that my heart would listen, and I would strive continuously, daily, to be the wife God calls me to be…I pray that our hearts would be as generous as the Kirby’s and like they have blessed us, we too would bless others.