Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1 Corinthians 13:7
Reflections on VE Day
My Mum and Dad were there – but not together. Dad was in Italy as Sergeant Instructor in the Royal Artillery and Mum was teaching in Liverpool, travelling from North Wales to school every day. If there was an air-raid, her responsibility was to ensure that the boys remained in the shelters they were allocated – even if it meant dodging between shelters while the raid was on!
Mum and Dad loved each other. I have some of their letters. One or two are written so that they can only be read in a mirror! Must have taken a long time at both ends!
From North Africa on May 20th, 1943 my Dad wrote to “My own Darling Ellen … Now listen – they can send me to any country in the world, even Hollywood, and I would never want anyone, only my Ellen, you my dear girl are life to me, and unless you are not with me , well I just feel like jumping in the river, but I can’t do that, there are no rivers around here……no-one, no-one….only you are ever going to be my wife…..”.
In the middle of a terrible war, and with sadness all around nothing could stop their love.
How did they get through it all? I have a copy of a prayer suggested by the Padre for couples to remember each other each day. It ends “We pray Thee speed the day when we may meet in peace….” And they did – here I am to prove it!
They are but one of the incredible stories of soldiers, their wives and families, caught up in a war they did not start but had to fight – at home and abroad.
And now 75 years later we battle against covid-19. We are in it together and the battle is incredibly tough for so many. But what endured through the Second World War and beyond is love – magnificent love. Love will endure well beyond covid-19.
“Love never fails.” Those great words of wisdom are Bible words. So are these, “God is love”.
Re-visiting a time I did not know and circumstances I could hardly imagine, and emotions so battered by life has made a big impact on me. Where would I be without their love? Where would I be without the incredible love of God – bigger than all my failures?
Mum and Dad sacrificed for our futures – like so many others. God sent His Son who sacrificed His life on the Cross of Calvary to rescue me – and everyone who puts their trust in Him.
They had the delight of being there on VE day. ‘The final victory’ had been won. Great as that was – Jesus Christ did so much more. He defeated death and the grave. He has won the greatest final victory.
In a cynical world which often claims to believe nothing, the words of 1 Corinthians 13, verse 7, are still so true,
“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things”.
And what about you? Who do you love? Who do you think loves you? If you know someone loves you – how wonderful is that – just like my Mum and Dad in the midst of the war. Whether some person loves you or not, one old hymn says it all.
And yet I know that it is true:
He came to this poor world below,
And wept and toiled, and mourned and died,
Only because He loved us so.
But, even could I see him die,
I could but see a little part
Of that great love which, like a fire,
Is always burning in his heart.
And yet I want to love Thee, Lord;
O light the flame within my heart,
And I will love Thee more and more,
Until I see Thee as Thou art.
William Walsham How, ‘It is a thing most wonderful’.
In memory of Edwin Dennis Norbury and Ellen Eldridge (Norbury)