Sometimes when life throws a wringer at you, it is hard to see past the loss. It can be a divorce, loss of a spouse, loss of a job, retirement, a pandemic, health issues, a major move—hard to take but offering the promise of a second chance. We believe that we are great examples of a couple who were lucky enough to enjoy a second chance.
It is not easy to pick up the pieces after life knocks things around. It takes a positive attitude, a bit of faith, a willingness to face—even welcome—change, but the rewards are innumerable. I have “introduced” Eldon to crossword puzzles. He has me watching NASCAR races!! We have traveled to places we did not know if we would ever see. He tells me he has learned more history from traveling with a history teacher than he learned in school. I have learned a lot about the business world! Eldon has become something of a “groupie,” going with me when the choir performed somewhere or when the Chamber Singers traveled. He says he has a greater appreciation of music and the arts since he married me. I in turn have blossomed into a huge Tar Heel fan, and I actually understand football and basketball!!! We’ve also become soccer grandparents!
We are both retired now. Eldon now works part-time at Home Depot. I collaborate with a colleague to teach in the OLLI program at Furman. He has a shop where he builds furniture. I sew and recently took up painting again. We share seven grandchildren. We like many of the same authors, but we have also learned new ones from each other. We discuss books we have read and usually agree on our assessment. I have learned a bit about growing up on a farm, and he has caught a glimpse of what it is like to be a preacher’s kid.
Sometimes we look around and wonder how we got to where we are. It certainly is not the place we expected to be when we were in our 20s, but we are so grateful for the second chance we have been given. If you try to be God’s person, He will give you ways and opportunities to be so.
—Linda and Eldon Russ

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