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Vision into Eternity

Vision into Eternity, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

It was during Andrew’s service on the Sunday before Thanksgiving that I met this man. He and his wife sat on benches against the outside wall running the length of the building when I walked to them and extended a hand. His blue eyes locked into mine, and he greeted me in return, but when I spoke directly to his wife, there was nothing. A blank stare, an erased board. “Say hello,” he prompted.

Slowly now, as though only stiffly could she grasp the words. “Hello.” Solemn, a non-readable gaze directed to my face.

During the service, as Andrew preached a simple message, I saw the man’s face tremble, then a glistening tear form in those striking aged eyes. During the meal served afterwards, she shuffled beside him as he guided her to the food line. Around her waist was fastened a woven thin belt of the institutional variety and her dress was hiked up in the back. He took two plates of food as she stood, a docile creature, beside him, and then my attention was diverted, and when next I saw them, they were seated at a picnic table on the patio as he leaned over and cut up her food and she mumbled softly.

I’ve thought a lot about this couple since that day. Andrew and Shawnna have visited their home and prayed with them and learned she is a victim of Alzheimer’s. That sweet man takes care of her 24 hours a day, even though he also has some sort of disability and his speech can be a little difficult to understand.

In recent days, I came across an interesting and very popular blog called David Boles Urban Semiotic and have read there extensively. Mr. Boles has a link to Richard Dawkins site and recommends the reading of “The God Delusion.” As you can expect from the title, Mr. Dawkins is a confirmed atheist. I read a bit there, although I in no way concur with Mr. Dawkins’s conclusions. Extensive reading in this venue, thoughts of my own mortality, concern for the spiritual condition of the gentleman pictured here and for others have prompted this column today. Don’t stop here, please. Keep reading.

I can no longer find the original ABC story in which breaking news reported that the “world renowned atheist,” Dr. Antony Flew, had announced a drastic change in philosophy and now believed scientific evidence points to the existence of a creator God. I took the following report from Scientific Evidence for God by Chris Wilhoit. His source was the original ABC story.

In early December of 2004 the world renowned atheist author Dr. Antony Flew at age 81 astounded other atheists with his candid admission. Flew, who is an emeritus professor of philosophy at Britain’s Reading University has said that the scientific evidence available to us today is overwhelmingly in favor of the existence of a creator God. Flew, who was raised Methodist became an atheist at age 15, has been an influential champion of atheism for more than fifty years. He has argued repeatedly that there was not enough evidence to support the notion of a creator. But Flew has changed his mind and now believes in God based on the scientific evidence. Flew concluded that a super-intelligence is the only plausible explanation for the origin of life and the complexity of the universe. Flew now describes himself as a deist. A deist is someone who believes in a God who is not actively involved in people’s lives. He has stated that he is not a Christian and does not believe in an afterlife. However, Flew has admitted that his God could be a person from the perspective of a being that has intelligence and purpose.

Teaching at Oxford, Aberdeen, Keele and Reading universities in Britain, and in visits to numerous U.S. and Canadian campuses, and in books, articles, lectures and debates, Flew has presented the view that there is a lack of evidence for God. But during this time Flew underwent a gradual conversion from atheism to deism. In a letter he wrote in the August-September issue of Britain’s Philosophy Now magazine, “It has become inordinately difficult even to begin to think about constructing a naturalistic theory of the evolution of that first reproducing organism.” Flew said he had “been persuaded that it is simply out of the question that the first living matter evolved out of dead matter and then developed into an extraordinarily complicated creature”. Flew correctly specifies that the scientific establishment has simply failed to answer this question. By taking issue with the naturalistic chemical origin of life, Flew is attacking the intellectual foundation of modern atheistic materialism and purely naturalistic evolution. Flew conceded that his current thoughts on the origin of life are similar to those of the intelligent design community.

On Lee Strobel’s site are excellent clips of an interview with Dr. Flew. It’s interesting to hear Dr. Flew say that despite his conversion to belief in “God” in some form, he hopes there is not an after-life. When the interviewer questioned him about that…”why, Dr. Flew?,” Dr. Flew considered at length, then acknowledged that among other reasons he did not wish to consider eternal punishment.

According to the word of God, in which I place my faith and belief, there is an eternal afterlife, and there are only two choices: I choose heaven. And you? What are your plans?

By Shirley Buxton

Still full of life and ready to be on the move, Shirley at 84 years old feels blessed to have lots of energy and to be full of optimism. She was married to Jerry for 63 years, and grieves yet at his death in August of 2019. They have 4 children, 13 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren...all beautiful and highly intelligent--of course. :)

20 replies on “Vision into Eternity”

Thank you Shirley Buxton, for your comment. I stopped by your site and I love what you’re doing there. The mixture of the conversations of God, news and such vivid photographs are an excellent mix!

I look fwd to your future postings!

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True Love. How beautiful even in the midst of illness.

My Grandmother had Alzhiemer’s and had passed away. She suffered early in her life and had to be hospitalized when my dad was still in High School. I remember my Grandpa being faithful to her, visiting her daily even though she did not know who he was. As a child and even as an adult, I remember visiting her. I saw the pain in my dad’s eyes because for some reason she remembered me and my sister and not him and then when I had children, she remembered them and not me.

I will pray for this man and his wife. I know he is heartbroken that he can no longer care for his wife.

Thanks for giving me yet another reason to be thankful today.

God Bless and I love you Sister Buxton!!

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This post touched me – the pictures caught my heart. My grandfather suffered from Alzheimers near the end of his life and it was heart-wrenching. I had spent a lot of time with him when things were good, but then there came the time that he did not recognize who I was and that really made an impact on my young heart. I have a special place in my heart for those who are going through this.

Thanks for visiting us today!

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My husband’s has an aunt in New York that has Alzheimers. We saw her a couple of years ago, and while our faces were familiar to her, she didn’t know who we were until we told her, and then, a short time later, she had forgotten our names. Her personality has changed since the disease too. Her and her husband had to leave the facility where they were staying because she had a few episodes of throwing things at some of the workers, which is so unlike her. I know it’s been difficult for the family. May Andrew and Shawna be used to show the love of God to these precious elderly folks.

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That man’s unusual and committed 24-hr. care of his wife speaks to me of Christ’s care for us–in sickness and in health. Very touching story.

Also, in regard to Dr. Flew’s story, I’m reminded of, “The fool hath said in his heart there is no God.” I tend to think that most people who claim to be atheist REALLY KNOW deep down that there IS a God. They perhaps can’t come to grips with a Judgment Day or maybe even don’t want to. If still alive, maybe Dr. Flew will one day come around full circle. He seems to have made A STEP in the right direction.

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Hi Shirley,
Thanks for the note on our site. The reason I thought snow was unusual is because they haven’t had this much snow in 10 years (at least that’s what people are telling me). They usually only get a couple of inches and it all melts in a day. =)

-Melissa

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John, I am so moved by families who are racked by Alzheimers, for it absolutely destroys people.I know a very dear preacher’s wife, whose husband was in such dread condition, that he once ordered her from the room. “I’m a preacher, and a married man, Woman. Get out of my room.” It is the saddest thing. Thank you for visiting my site, John.

Cylithria, thank for coming by my site. Hope you enjoy reading here and that you come often.

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Hi Shirley, thanks for visiting my site earlier and leaving a “Yay” for me. That was so sweet of you to do. You’re blog looks very interesting and i shall be peeking around it, but I wanted to pop in and say Hi and thank you!

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Great post, Shirley! Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving the kind comments.
My spiritual parents were brought to mind with the couple you wrote about. They were owners of a Christian bookstore in Florida for many years, and we almost lived there. The sort of adopted our family then. Now, she has Alzheimers, and he is taking 24 hr. care of her. We have offered for them to live with us, but he WANTS and NEEDS to care for his bride. I admire that spirit of service, and I thank you for bringing them to my mind and heart again.

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Thank you, Greg, for these comments. I know such situations cause unspeakable pain. Did you see SBB’s comments where she said that the decision has been made to put this wife in a facility. I’m just so sad about these people, and I really don’t even know them. Probably because I know at some point Jerry and I could find ourselves in a similar position. God spare us that sadness, and God help us to be ready in our souls.

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I work in Aged care as a volunteer serices manager (I manage the volunteer program for our regions 21 services and faclities). I am almost daily amazed and caught out by surprsise at the intense love that people show for one another in looking after a partner who has long since ceased to recognise them as their husband/wife. I have seen the pain and torment people go through in ,making the decision to have their soulod mate, the lvoe of their lives placxed into an aged fcare faclity, a nursing home…it’s as if they are finally confronted with the sadness of not being all that their partners will need – they can no longer provide all the care required – the care they have committed themselves to in their wedding vows. In fact it can and does usher in a new phase in theri relationship – one where they can siomnply be with their lvoed one and not ahve to worry about the physical aspencts of their care – they can hold hands, read books together, take walks (if able).

I see the committment of God to love and us in the eyes of older people

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Kenya, thanks for being here, and yes, I can surely see a problem when an atheist want to give thanks. That is one of the glories of serving Jesus: it’s such an awesome experience to enter into His presence and give Him thanks.

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Hi Mom-
Again this past Saturday we visited with this gentleman and have learned that his wife is going into a nursing home. I would imagine that it is just too overwhelming to take care of her on his own, being that she had fought him physically 3 times that day. He cried again and is still very interested in coming back to church & to our Bible study. Thank you for posting his picture- he is as sweet as he looks!
SBB

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Thanks for visiting with me and thanks too for reading. The trouble with the atheist (as some Christian thinker once said) is to some times find oneself in a position to give thanks, yet really have no one to whom express such thanks. Jesse, Nairobi, Kenya.

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