They must have seen something in my eyes.
Why else would the couple I’d been interviewing ask if they could pray for me?
I met many wonderful people through my work as a newspaper reporter, people whose stories changed my life irrevocably. I’d interviewed Bill and Marcheta Lux for their unique love story for a Valentine’s Day issue, but it was the experience of holding their hands as they prayed out loud for me that has never left me.
Bill and Marcheta were both widowed and in their eighties when they met in 2011. As a four-year veteran widow, their story fascinated me. I noted with curiosity the ease in which they talked about their former spouse, how their hands automatically reached out to pat the other’s knee.
According to the couple, the secret to a successful marriage was inside the well-worn book on the end table next to Bill’s chair.
“Every day I asked God what his will was for me,” Bill said as he pulled a folded piece of paper from inside the Bible. “I wasn’t sure about getting married again.”
It was during a Christian radio show he got his answer. Jotting down notes about what to look for in a mate, he realized Marcheta met all the criteria.
“Number one is that the person must be Christian,” Bill read from the paper. “Marchetta trusted the Lord with all her heart. Second, the person must be trustworthy with all things. Number three is honesty. Marcheta is trustworthy and honest. And number four is the desire to be with the person, even when you aren’t being intimate. And I wanted to be with Marcheta all the time.”
Marcheta had smiled indulgently as Bill expounded on her virtues, discretely gesturing to me with a pointed finger that it was him who was so wonderful. As they stood for a picture, Bill slung his arm around the woman he loved, pulling her close.
“I want to be with her for as long as I have left,” he said, his head resting against hers.
My breath caught in my throat, my heart aching for what they had. My hands shook with emotion as my fingers fumbled for the button on the camera. Had my loneliness been so visible to Bill? Because what happened next didn’t make sense for a reporter concluding an interview.
“Can we pray with you?” Bill asked, and his wife nodded.
I put down my camera and held out my hands to take each of theirs. Following their lead, I bowed my head as Bill began praying.
He thanked God for the day and an opportunity to share their story. Tears sprung to my eyes as he continued. “Dear Lord, if it is your will, we ask you to bless Mary with a love story like ours.”
I don’t remember the rest of his prayer, past that heartfelt plea for me.
Bill would share his life with Marcheta for another three years. I heard that she followed him Home that next summer, while I was busy lamenting a loneliness that had heightened with the isolation of the pandemic.
A year later, this Christian couple’s prayer was answered when I got my own love story, one that rivals the newspaper narrative in its intensity and romance. God has been in it from the beginning, and I am in awe of the results. I have more questions than answers in how I’m to proceed in writing or speaking about this second marriage, but I’ve known since I met Nick that God wants me to share our story. Journal entries since our meeting have been prolific and daily prayers for guidance and discernment have resulted in pages of notes, so no doubt the how and when will be revealed. One thing that has been clear to both of us: We want to be with each other for as long as we have left.