PROSSER – People don’t always take advantage of second chances in life. But Vancouver author and mountain climber Shirley Graybill said she will never regret doing just that when her marriage was in trouble.
Graybill, the featured speaker at this month’s Lower Valley Christian Women’s Connection meeting in Prosser, said she began reflecting on taking a leap of faith when her husband was fatally ill.
She wrote of the bond that was shared in her book, Second Chances.
Reading from the book this past Tuesday, Graybill said she was by her husband’s bedside feeling rather challenged by his illness.
He reminded her of a trip to Rooster Rock. The pair had climbed to the top of the rock, but when it came time to descend, Graybill had some trepidation.
“I knew his (Bill’s) advice was sound,” said Graybill, stating she depended on her husband’s encouragement as she carefully descended the rock.
His illness, she said, provided her an opportunity to provide him with encouragement…something that didn’t always come naturally.
Graybill said the pair were married for 40 years, but the first 20 years of that marriage were difficult.
When they would argue, Bill would leave. He would go for a walk, leaving her to believe the argument was over.
The tumultuous times grew to the point that the duo began discussing divorce, but decided to seek counseling.
“We went through several counselors and the last one suggested we take a couple’s communication class,” said Graybill.
She said the class required homework in the form of planned activities with one another.
“We had a wild ride,” Graybill said, stating it wasn’t easy to enjoy one another’s company at first. However, they gradually drew closer to one another. They learned to communicate better.
“We were two stubborn people…we learned to listen and understand one another better,” she said. Graybill added the two of them had to learn to discontinue behaving in a self-centered manner.
“When Bill lay in the hospital, dying, I was grateful that God had given me 40 years with him,” said Graybill, stating she would not have had the additional 20 years with her husband had it not been for second chances.
Comparing the journey to her mountain climbing experiences, she said, “As long as my life is anchored by the rope of God, I was safe.”
Graybill’s husband died, but she felt secure with God. She met and married another man, who died 17 months after they married.
However, she said she has never felt alone because God has been with her through all of life’s challenges.
Graybill said perseverance and faith will bring people through the challenges of life. Reaching each summit provides one with “glorious views.”
She said easing the descent, using God to brake one’s self, will help a person overcome the fear and trepidation that many encounter.