Even the Smallest Details

raster. cherry heart

Today is June 5… a day my mind tends to drift down Memory Lane. I’d like to share a something that happened on a day that might otherwise have been filled with pain and sorrow. What God did for me that day was like a link between the two most important men in my life… a bridge between the past and the future. It was wonderful evidence to me that my loving heavenly Father cares about even the smallest details of my life.

This comes straight from my journal.

Fri. June 5/81.

Do you know that a lilac, picked and wilted from lack of life, still has the lovely aroma of a fresh lilac clinging to the tree? It’s dead, but it still smells like a lilac. And this morning as I think back to that day not so long ago, there comes to me much of the beauty and joy and reverence that memory will always keep alive. Sat. June 5, 1976… our wedding day… a day full of bright hope, joyous love, and starry-eyed anticipation of our future together.

Today our marriage is no more. Indeed, sometimes in this setting I find it hard to realize that I once was married. It seems so long ago.. And yet as I allow myself the luxury of looking back, recalling our days together, the memory is like that lilac – our marriage is gone, no longer in existence, but the memory of it is sweet, a precious fragrance, to be cherished always. In a way it’s like taking that lilac and pressing it, so I can keep it between the pages of a book, to take it out again and enjoy the fragrance every once in a while. The memory is ever with me, and I’ll carry with me for the rest of my days the fragrance of lessons learned and blessings bestowed by my Heavenly Father during my marriage.

Today is June 5, 1981. It’s five years since that wonderful day, when Willena Cummins and Robert Langdon were united in marriage. Almost three years have passed since I saw his face and touched his hand – and met the gaze of his big, expressive blue eyes. Do I miss him? Sometimes. In some ways. But the memory is more and more becoming just a shadow in the dim and receding past. “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away” was Job’s testimony. I would add, “The Lord taketh away and the Lord giveth, “ because when the Lord took Bob but led me here to Prairie He gave me so very much that my present joy has crowded out much grief and pain. Truly He has given beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the spirit of praise for the spirit of heaviness. Surely He has proven His infinite love for His own.

Things are not perfect right now… I struggle and I go down in defeat because I’ve not learned to cease from my own labours and rest in my Lord. But when I look back and see how far my Lord has brought me, and think of what is in store as I learn to rest in Him, I am so thankful to Him! How could I ever want to go back? “This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before” (Phil. 3:13).

Now that I have said all that, let me say something about Ian. I think maybe he’s not going to be staying on staff. I think he may be leaving Prairie after this session. And I think I know someone who is going to miss him if he does go. I don’t know his plans because I haven’t asked him. I wonder what he will be doing? I wonder whether he will want to keep in contact? I struggle, knowing I may simply be a sister in the Lord to Ian – but with a growing emotion within my own heart that says I hope I mean more to him than that. Ah, Willena, Willena, when will you ever learn? Learn to love the Lord first and above all else – and trust Him to add to your life what He will – trust Him to guide your future and meet your needs in His own way.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

It is still Fri. June 5/81, but much later. This has been some day! Yesterday Judi M expressed her concern for me, wondering if my anniversary would be hard for me. Well… the Lord saw fit to make something happen on this very day, which has totally taken my mind off any thought of grief.

At lunch I served on the girls’ side and we had two lines – so I didn’t get to serve Ian. He sat way over on the girls’ side with his back to me, and he left almost before I started washing tables. Nor was he studying in the library when I got done work.. so I decided to go home and cook myself a proper lunch. I was almost late getting back for my afternoon class. I hurried to the periodicals room where my books were still on a desk. I reached for my Bible, and notebook and pen, and realized my Bible had a card sticking out of it. Enough of it was showing for me to read, “re: Willena Rose.” I knew who it was from as soon as I saw it. And I just about panicked – knowing I had to read it before I entered that classroom, when the bell was about to ring any moment! But read it I did, and I wasn’t even late for class! I’m just very thankful Ian did not see my face for the first half hour or so of class!

[I shall draw the curtain on that note, which I prefer to keep private even now, 34 years later… suffice to say he used an oblique approach to asking for an A-108, which was Prairie Bible Institute code for a date. 😉 ]

This delightful little message sat on my lap all during Principles of Leadership class – in which I found it very hard to concentrate. My answer – written in class – went something like this:

I like your unique way of getting a message across
“the Jordan”! Does this mean you are asking? If so,
my answer is “yes”! The time is up to you.

That class hour was almost totally lost to me. After class I met Ian coming out the door. I asked him if he was responsible for the note in my Bible. He confessed he was. I handed him my note, saying, “Here’s another one!”


If you know me, you know the story didn’t end there. June 5, 1981 was a new beginning for me, though I didn’t know it yet. It led to 36 years of best friendship, and 35 years of marriage — so far! God’s timing is perfect. He knows exactly what His children need, and when.

© Willena Flewelling


  1. What a lovely post Willena, it is always amazing how things happen as we go down the plan that has been designed for us.

    Again thanks for sharing this.

    Andy Lockhart recently posted…5 Big Mistakes on InstagramMy Profile

    • Thanks, Andy. I agree, and it also helps not to question when things happen beyond our control, but trust that this is best, and then make the best of it. Ian and I have had a wonderful 33 years together so far, and we are so richly blessed by the 7 children we were given.
      Willena Flewelling recently posted…InterludeMy Profile

  2. Hi Willena,

    I loved this share! It is so amazing how a specific time can live on in our memory. Sometimes a little faded, but oh so memorable. Thank you for sharing this and I love the analogy you have given.
    Donna Merrill recently posted…How Can I Break Through Endless Failure?My Profile

    • Thank you, Donna. Dates have always been important to me. Sometimes that can be a bad thing, depending on what significance I attach to it. At the time it was pretty hard, visiting my suffering husband in the hospital every day for 17 months, and then losing him, when I was only 25 and he was just 30… but there is always a silver lining in the cloud, and God’s promise to His children to give beauty for ashes. When I can see that, then I can enjoy and appreciate the memories with an open heart.
      Willena Flewelling recently posted…Beginning of the Empty NestMy Profile

  3. Hey Willena,

    thanks for sharing this post with us, very emotional and touching,

    I guess it is best to let the lords of the heavens decide our way and just appreciate the path and walk on!
    Shobha Ponnappa recently posted…Customer experience expectations: what brands should know!My Profile

  4. Lynda (Peck) Stade says:

    thanks for sharing this Willena. So special.

  5. Nice article.

    Thanks to willena for sharing this post.
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