It’s rare when wives are touted as heroes, even though most should be. Last week one wife deserved more accolades than most. Eighty year old Helen Collins was returning from her vacation home in Marco Island (one of my favorite parts of the world) with her husband, Richard in their twin-engine Cessna when the unthinkable happened. Unthinkable moments, although rarely welcome, serve as remarkable invitations to become a hero. Such was the moment for Helen as her husband Richard collapsed at the controls in the pilot seat. Struggling to breathe, he unbuckled his seat belt, got out of the pilot seat and laid down on the floor of the plane. Helen had only a few minutes to decide on her course of action. She chose the high road and attempted to save the lives of her husband and herself. Radioing for help, she took the controls of the plane and with the help of a pilot who jumped in a plane and joined her in the air to coach her, she spent the next ninety minutes learning the steps necessary to land the plane. Never losing her sense of humor when the assisting pilot recommended closing a nearby highway, she remarked, “What, you don’t have faith in me?” Running out of fuel and losing one engine, Helen landed the plane and skidded down the runway nose down but safe. Unfortunately Richard did not survive the heart attack he had prior to Helen taking the controls, but Helen survived with only an injured vertebrae and is mending nicely.
I spent many hours with married couples in similar situations. Few had a twin-engine Cessna, nor had one suffered a heart attack at high altitudes. Nevertheless, one spouse had collapsed at the controls putting everyone and the marriage in serious jeopardy. The other spouse was left with a monumental decision – crash and burn with the spouse in trouble or strategize and fight to save and restore your marriage and your future. One spouse is indeed able to take steps that can change the climate and future of the marriage. The struggling spouse often removes all safety restraints and lays down all his/her commitments and responsibilities. There will often be times when the spouse that fights to save the marriage will be running on fumes and sputtering into a possible crash landing emotionally, financially, physically, spiritually and relationally. They must resolve to never give up and reach out for help. Those who have the wisdom to radio for help from a counselor, mentor, a trusted friend, pastor, or therapist is determined to seek out someone who will come alongside and coach them into a safe landing. Sadly all the efforts may still result in the loss of one spouse, in spite of the faultless and courageous of the other spouse. However, if the healthy spouse refuses to give up, endures, stays full of hope and faith; they are inviting God’s intervention in their marriage. When we do what we can do, God will do what He can do!
Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures in every circumstance. 1 Corinthian 13:7