Noelle LeBlanc

The Suitcase

January 27, 2017

 

 A worn tattered suitcase, grayish-brown and frayed is discovered tucked in the bottom of the closet. Seemingly hidden away from prying eyes and encapsulated in time, as it is clear the suitcase hasn’t been touched in ages, evident by the thick cover of dust. 

 

When the suitcase is gingerly opened what is found inside is astounding…

 

Letters--- not just ordinary letters but nearly 500 love letters written and exchanged during World War II. The letters span three long years and are traded between a young country girl in North Carolina and her newly married sailor stationed in the South Pacific.

 

 

 

The letters always start with “Dearest Darling” and always end with “ All My Love.” They give a surprising glimpse into the era and speak of what is happening in the world- both life in the tiny Southern town and life aboard a warship.

 

They speak of fears and also prayers for the future.

 

My Dearest Darling,

 

I do hope and pray with all my heart that you’ll get to come home soon. I can hardly wait to see you and be in your arms again. I love and miss you more than I can ever write and say. I love you more than anything else in the world and darling, pray to God every night, the best I know how, to protect you and let you come home safely to me soon. I hope they’ll be answered someday soon too. Darling, times may not be like they used to be, but you and I will be happy and have a lot of fun times when you’re home again.             All my love, Ruby

 

The letters are particularly special because they belong to my departed grandparents- Ruby and Edison and reveal a side to their life story that was untold. Especially the dreams and desires of a young woman – as the letters expose her struggle with the uncertainty of her future, questions about what “married life will be like” and ultimately fears that she may never see her husband again!  

 

The letters speak of a budding love and marriage that begins with a three-day-furlough and quick trip to see the Justice of the Peace.    

 

 

Three days together. 

 

Three years apart.  

 

And a love that endured for over 60 years!   

 

How?  

 

Seems today, marriages sour and fade at alarming rates! I can count on a single-hand the number of people I know that have been married for longer than 20 years!

 

Yet, Ruby and Edison’s marriage survived a war, separation, hardships, accidents, sickness, aging and even children! 

 

Some would say it was just plain and simple love and devotion- maybe even fairy-tale love. 

 

 

After reading their letters, I say it was something more….  

 

Hope.

 

Scripture tells us in 1 Corinthians 13:13-  “Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.” (NIV)

 

I believe my grandparents loved one another and had immense faith. 

 

However, what I believe made their marriage so strong – strong enough to overcome all the obstacles that life threw their way was the added element of “hope.”

 

Hope is defined as the “feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.” 

 

It seems the importance of “hope” often gets overlooked, especially in the context of marriage; yet, hope may be the very fuel needed in your marriage to keep it alive and sustain it for the long run!

 

Hope to believe that situation isn’t insurmountable, hope to believe that love can be restored, hope to believe healing can take place, hope to believe that job situation will be resolved, hope to believe that addiction can be broken, hope to believe that your marriage can last a lifetime!  

 

Hope kept my grandparents strong during the war and hope combined with faith and love was the recipe that kept their marriage strong for their lifetime. 

Hope.   

 

Grab it, cling to it and don’t let go!

 

It matters more than you know! 

 

Father, you are the author of all that is good and holy.    You are the cumulation of love, hope and faith.  May you bless us with the ability to always hope in every situation and believe that you will provide, you will sustain, you will heal and you will always make a way for us when there seems to be no way possible. 

 

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. - Proverbs 13:12

 

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