National Public Radio’s StoryCorp has just released a wonderful story told by a grandfather to his two granddaughters. (NPR Link)
According to attorney Martin Levin, while in college back in he 1930s, he met a fellow student who in his words was, “the most obnoxious, most difficult, and most awful person I’ve ever met in my life…”
As Levin tells his story, this young woman went out of her way to cause trouble for him. When he ran for president of the student body, she helped defeat him.
Levin, goes on to say, undoubtedly with a twinkle in his eye… “I hated her. So, I married her. That was the only way to get back at her.”
The marriage lasted for 67 years.
At this point one of Martin’s granddaughters asks him, “What is the hardest thing you’ve ever done?”
Mr. Levin responds, “Deal with grief…That’s hard for me. I had a relationship with my wife that was so complete, that we did everything together. And so, when she died, I found a big vacuum of time open.”
The StoryCorp feature goes on to end with the kind of humor and upbeat optimism that will bring a smile to many faces.
As I’ve thought about this story, it occurs to me that I’ve just heard a wonderful illustration of the ability of love to overcome conflict and contempt.
At this point my mind jumps to a much older story. I recall what a Rabbi from Nazareth said about a Roman military officer who came to him asking help for a friend (Luke 7:1-9). Jesus indicated that he saw more faith in this Roman soldier than he had seen in the religious community of Israel.
Sometimes those of us who know we should be the first to show the kind of faith that overcomes doubt…and the kind of love that overcomes hatred… are brought up short by the kind of faith and love we see in those outside of ourselves…