“If I did, I would say their marriage was made in heaven.” That was enough to pique my interest in some people who went through a counseling program at the Grief Center.

Stan, the finish carpenter, had been married to Mary, who died quickly of pancreatic cancer.

Betsy was married to a man I never met. My anonymous friend nicknamed him “Schmuck.” Schmuck was a taker, selfish, and devoted to his cars, not to his wife, or his kids. Ironically, he lived by cars and died by cars. A young woman ran a stop light, totaled herself and him and both vehicles.

Then there was Butch. My lady friend didn’t tell how Butch lost his wife. Betsy noticed that he was polite and wealthy. He eventually proposed. Betsy concluded that he wanted to marry someone, but not necessarily her. There was no spark between them. They had little to talk about and few common interests. She declined his proposal.

Our society has many support groups including grief support groups to help people deal with losing the love of their life. Over 18 months Butch, then Betsy, and then Stan, went through the same grief counseling program. Maybe there were 30 people in the grieving process at one time. It is unlikely that anyone went there to find their next mate. People were trying to survive the hell and hoping they might reassemble the scraps of what had been their life.

Stan and Mary accumulated modest wealth, but her medical bills took it all. Stan seemed decent, quiet, unglamorous, over 50, with modest financial prospects. People who know him well admire his gift to recognize some unique block of wood, and then design around it. His custom cabinetry often showcases some unique element.

Somebody at the center mentioned to Stan that working clay was deep therapy for Betsy. She stuck hands in ordinary clay and what came off the wheel and out of the kiln was often astounding beauty.

Stan thinks deeply and talks little. Apparently after Mary passed Stan decided that he would use his remaining years to benefit or contribute to others. He discreetly re-built a potter’s wheel at the right height for Betsy. He anonymously donated it. Betsy was surprised when the Grief Center gave her the wheel. They told her they found it in a storage area and thought she could “put it to good use.”

At that time Stan had seen Betsy but probably had not even talked to her. Eventually they sat in a couple of group sessions and became lightly acquainted. Their relationship deepened. It was only after they were married that Betsy learned Stan restored and indirectly gifted her with the potter’s wheel.

The fairytale came true. Her creative gift was and is truly remarkable. Her pottery and other art touch hearts and profoundly comfort or inspire people. She donated some of her pieces to nonprofits, which sold them during fundraisers. A couple of local museums and libraries have displayed her work.

Betsy and Stan may or may not be people who worship. I don’t know. It would seem hard to give that much love unless there was some source that provides abundance.

This story thrills me because Stan, in his deepest pain and loneliness purposed to use his life for something of significance, to encourage another wounded soul. He had no clue about the eventual result. He knew he could give and so he did.

The world would not consider either Stan or Betsy as successful. Unlike my friend who relayed the story, I believe there is a God. I trust He considers both their lives to be significant.

In the last year have you seen someone who has inspired you? I’d love to hear about that.


Terry Moore, CCIM, is the author of Building Legacy Wealth: How to Build Wealth and Live a Life Worth Imitating. Read his “Welcome to My Blog.

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