I Get To

I read this a few weeks ago in Disciplines of a Godly Man, about Robertson McQuilkin, the former President at Columbia International University. It is his resignation letter, served when his wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. It moved me, and I want my life to emulate his.

Twenty-two years is a long time, but then again, it can be shorter than one anticipates. How do you say goodbye to friends you don’t wish to leave? The decision to come to Columbia was the most difficult I had to make. The decision to leave twenty-two years later, though painful, was one of the easiest. It was almost as if God engineered the circumstances so that I had no alternatives. Let me explain. My dear wife, Muriel, has been in failing mental health for about twelve years. So far I have been able to carry both her ever growing needs and my leadership responsibility at Columbia. But recently it has become apparent that Muriel is contented most of the time when she is with me, and almost none of the time when I am away from her. It is not just discontent, she is filled with fear, even terror that she has lost me, and always goes in search of me when I leave home. So it is clear to me that she needs me now, full time. Perhaps it will help you understand if I share with you what I shared in Chapel at the time of the announcement of my resignation.

The decision was made in a way forty-two years ago when I promised Muriel to love and to cherish, in sickness and in health, till death us do part. But there is more. She has cared for me fully and sacrificially for all these years. If I care for her for the next forty years, I would not be out of her debt. Duty, however, can be grim and stoic. There is more—I love Muriel. She is a delight to me. I don’t have to care for her—I get to. It is a high honor to care for so wonderful a person.

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