Tuesday, February 3, 2015

True Love Stories: A Lifetime of Love

"When God Made You" as performed by Natalie Grant and Newsong, is the song that comes to mind when I think of today's featured true love story. The author, Donn Taylor, says his love was a "match made in heaven." How beautiful it is when you allow God to orchestrate your true love story and trust Him with the results! 

So without further ado, here is Donn's telling of a love story that will inspire you to allow God to, in His perfect time, give you a match made in heaven.

~*~
A Lifetime of Love
Donn Taylor's true love story

We've heard of "matches made in heaven." This was one, and it kindled a flame that endured through the decades. Neither Mildred nor I suspected the forces bringing us together.

In the summer of 1946, when I worked at a Baptist assembly in North Carolina, I dated a girl four years older than I was, Mildred's older sister. (I was 16 then.) Working there the next summer, I dated (among others) her next older sister, only a year older than I.

Then something odd happened. My parents moved to Northeast Mississippi to teach at a small college in the town where these girls lived. Nothing much happened for a while. The military draft resumed in 1948 and I was whisked off for a year in the Army. Then I returned and renewed my college education at Ole Miss, some 30 miles from our family's new home.

But at home during spring break in 1950 I met up with that second sister, who was accompanied by a yet younger sister named Mildred. The three of us hiked out to one of the renowned sites outside of town. Nothing notable about that. But during the hike I teased Mildred and she teased right back, going me one better at every turn. She had spunk, and she was quick. I made a pun and she came right back with a better one. She smiled and her eyes flashed. Better yet, I learned she was only two years younger than I (I was 20 by then) rather than the four I'd originally thought. That meant she was not off limits for dating.

The Korean War began that summer, but I was deferred by being in senior ROTC. When Mildred entered college that fall we dated every now and then when I was home from Ole Miss. She made lively conversation on substantive subjects, and we enjoyed long talks over coffee in various cafes. By Christmas I knew she was The One, but I didn't want to rush her. And by then she'd let me know she enjoyed my company.

In January I came home between semesters, and she stayed at the college to work. Then came one of the worst snows that region had ever known. Power lines snapped and roads were closed. We were snowbound. For more than a week we were gloriously trapped in a winter wonderland without outside contacts. So we were together morning and afternoon as well as dating in the evenings. The snow was one miracle, the fact that we never tired of our companionship was another. By the time the snow melted (honest, no help from us), we'd shared our first kiss and were engaged.

We had a long engagement because I couldn't support a family until I graduated. That gave us time to assure the certainty of our love. When I was commissioned through ROTC and graduated, the Army recalled me for the Korean War. We married—a small, simple wedding—and had five months together before I shipped out for Korea. We had a glorious reunion upon my return and embarked together on an Army career.

I'd been at outs with the church for some years, but Mildred's quiet faith slowly led me back in. Through the years, she was the strength that held our family together (four children by the time Vietnam occurred) during a variety of assignments and geographical moves. She did it all with a softness that made her a favorite wherever we went. She also taught both me and the children the importance of a prayer life.

After Army, she saw me through graduate school and became the ideal professor's wife. Students flocked to her as a surrogate mother and mentor. But finally we retired together, and for two decades then we had what we'd always wanted: unlimited time together, as we'd had briefly during that snow-enchanted courtship.

In our marriage we had never quarreled: we agreed at the beginning that when something went wrong between us we'd hold our fire and talk it our rationally after the emotions subsided. We did have disagreements, but talked in calm till we found workable solutions. Neither of us could stand to hurt the other one.

I've tried, vainly, to capture her quality in poetry. Only once did I come close:


She speaks in trust that only grace allows,

Modestly unaware her softness, strong—

Stronger than stone or steel—holds up this house 

In love, to let the house hold up the sky. 


We were lovers through 61 years, seven months and four days, until her long battle with ovarian cancer ended. She never complained, and she never doubted where she was going. Nor do I doubt where I’m going when the Lord calls. As I wrote in another poem, at the trumpet’s call we’ll “wake to the Promise. There in that golden time/ We’ll walk together with many millions more/ Into the daylight of eternity.”

~*~
Author bio: 

Donn Taylor led an Infantry rifle platoon in the Korean War, served with Army aviation in Vietnam, and worked with air reconnaissance in Europe and Asia. 

Afterward, he completed a PhD degree at The University of Texas and taught English literature at two liberal arts colleges. 

He lives near Houston, Texas, where he writes fiction, poetry, and articles on current topics.

47 comments:

  1. Donn, beautiful testimony to an enduring love. The time I got to spend with you and Mildred together lets me know every word is true.

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    1. Thank you, Terry. We very much appreciated you and Saundra.

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  2. What a beautiful love story, Donn. Thank you for sharing.

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  3. I am so sorry I never got to meet her. Our one opportunity--the last ACFW conference in Dallas--she and I were both too sick to connect. Learning of her through you has allowed me to love her as surely as those students did all those years ago. Thanks for sharing your story.

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    1. Yes, Linda, that ACFW weekend was a bad one for all three of us. But I'm glad you and I have gotten acquainted in the local ACFW chapter.

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  4. Oh, Donn. What a story! I had to laugh, you playboy you, dating all the sisters! But what an enduring story! And what a lovely philosophy for an enduring love!

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  5. Dad always said of Mom, "Thou excellest them all." Sounds like Mildred, too. Thank you for this glimpse into your life. Wish I could've met her.

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    1. Thank you, Sadie and Sophie. Take care up there under all that snow.

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  6. A lovely story about a lovely couple. It was my honor to have met both of you in our lives travels. Mildred was a dear sweet wonderful woman. I know you miss her terribly. Your story is very inspiring. I hope God continues to hold you in the palm of his hand.

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    1. Thank you, Linda. We were delighted to meet and get to know you and your husband.

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  7. Donn, what a beautiful tribute to Mildred, to your love for one another, and to love, in general. That's what it's supposed to be--unselfish, caring, enduring. Thank you!

    Blessings,
    Deb

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    1. Thank you, Deborah. You are most gracious.

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  8. I"m sniffing back tears of joy, Donn. What a marvelous job you did honoring your beloved Mildred. I wish I could have met her. Your love is such a strong and encouraging example. Thanks so much for brightening my day.

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    1. Thank you for all of your empathy and encouragement, Catherine. May our Lord richly bless you and yours throughout the year.

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  9. Oh Donn, how precious is true love. I love how you both committed to never quarreling and calmly worked out differences. And how her strength was in her softness. I'm so glad you shared this. God bless you.

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    1. Thank you, Shonda. That rational discussion thing was something my parents taught me, and Mildred thought it was a good idea so we adopted it.

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  10. I knew there was just something about the two of you. . . I'm so happy for you that you experienced such love!
    What a testimony for your children/grandchildren, Donn. My hubs and I celebrated 41 yrs this last Nov. - wish I could say I was the rational one in any disagreement - I'm the mouthy one. The example you've given of your relationship with Mildred might just make a difference in how I 'react' next time. Thanks for this!

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    1. Thank you, Joy. 41 years is no small accomplishment in these times. May the Lord grant you many more.

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  11. Lovely story, Donn. Beautiful picture!

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  12. Donn, your poignant love story moved me to tears. This is the kind of love celebrated through the ages. I'm glad you were there for each other over the many years, many changes, many times of life. Love this story. God bless you.

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  13. Well, Donn, I'm crying. And I need ot go out in public soon, but it's okay. I loved you and Mildred together, and I think you both knew that because I witnessed your love for each other on several occasions and had the privilege of sharing at least one of my Donn and Mildred love stories in a column. Thank you for sharing this tender revealing of true love.

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    1. Thank you, Cathy. You're a good friend, and we truly appreciated your mentioning us in your column.

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  14. What a beautiful story Donn. Your for Mildred shines through every word. I like the picture of the two of you. She was beautiful, and you're handsome too. And yes, I shed a tear.

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    1. Thank you, Barbara. May our Lord richly bless you and yours throughout the year.

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  15. As Donn's youngest daughter I can testify that this is all true. Mother and Daddy would retreat after dinner with their coffee to discuss whatever needed to be discussed. Their love never wavered at the end, with Daddy making sure that all who cared for her knew how precious she was to him, and I will always be grateful that I never had to worry about how much they loved each other.

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    1. Thank you, Katherine. You're very dear. I don't think I could have gotten through those last two months without your constant help and--yes, your good advice and planning.

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  16. Oh what a story this is! You should incorporate this in some way into one of your novels. :) Your love for your beloved wife shines clear and bright in this retelling. Her treasured memory will be forever honored, and she'll never be far away. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Thank you, Amber. There is some of the two of us in the snowbound love scenes in Lightning on a Quiet Night--not in the narrative details, but in the snowy landscape setting, the ambiance, and the lovers' attitudes toward each other. But the characters remain fictional characters in all other ways. But thanks for asking. Actually, Mildred gave me some of my best lines in all of my books.

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  17. What a beautiful story! Thanks for sharing it, Donn!

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  18. Thank you, Joy. And thanks again for interviewing me on your blog. Stay safe up there in snow land.

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  19. Beautiful story, Donn. Don and I remember with fondness you and Mildred in Plainview. The respect and caring shown to each other was genuine and an inspiration to us!

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    1. Thank you, Joyce. You're most gracious.

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  20. What a beautiful and inspiring love story, Donn! God's blessing was indeed part of your marriage ...you and Mildred were meant to be! Thanks for sharing these wonderful memories!

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    1. Thank you, Lynn. You are most gracious.

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  21. Thank you, Joyce. May our Lord bless you and Don throughout the year.

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  22. What a gorgeous couple! What a gorgeous love story!
    Donn, you were blessed, are blessed and will be blessed in reunion.

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    1. Thank you, David. Sorry I took so long to find your comment. Blessings.

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  23. Such a beautiful portrait of a love will last for eternity. I wish I had known Mildred better, for just the sight of you two sitting together always brought a smile to my heart. Thank you for sharing such a tender memory.

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  24. A heartwarming story. Thanks for sharing it. You and Mildred had something special. Blessing my friend.

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  25. A wonderful, heart-felt story of love, Donn. Really enjoyed this piece. Interesting you dated so many sisters. :-) Beautiful poem written about your lovely wife. I'm sure you miss her. Till you meet again. Blessings!

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  26. My mother was so blessed to watch the two of you walk hand in hand down the halls and over the hills at BRMCWC, Donn. You truly have a love story!

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  27. What a beautiful tribute. I am so sorry for your loss. It sounds like you had something really special.

    Lynn Winters

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  28. Lovely to have love that strong. Beautiful Story. Merry Christmas and God Bless♡

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