It began in the center of Kansas when Anna Daisy Suderman was 18 years old, enrolled in the Academy. Her life planned, with her knight riding across the field, choosing her. Marriage would come with six children. They would live happily in a new house with red geraniums in the kitchen window. And then a man from Corn, Oklahoma asked Anna Daisy, “May I walk you home?”
Always forthright, Herman Bennie Siemens, took Anna’s hand and asked, “Did you know God made you for me?” Anna escaped, but not for long, for at every turn, there was Herman. At the end of the school year, Anna consented to go for a walk when Herman assured her, “It will just be for fun.” It was fun, yet Anna’s dream didn’t seem to be realized.
When the love light flashed across Anna Daisy’s heart, she knew she loved this ‘too serious’ man from Oklahoma. She told him so. He asked, are you serious? She answered, “Wedding bells and all.”
Herman held both of Anna’s hands and asked, “Would you bow your head?” There by the railroad tracks under the Kansas moon, they prayed for their life together ‘until death do them part’ that lasted for fifty-one years and eleven days of marriage.
Their love continued to grow through the birth of three children, illness, difficult decisions, job changes, searching for God’s will, but through it all, we heard the ‘love conversation’. Anna would say, “I love you.” Herman always countered with, “I love you more.”
Then came the last of eleven heart attacks that took Herman Bennie Siemens from this earth with a smile on his lips. I know, I was there when Dad left this earth. For nineteen years Mother lived without her love beside her Yet reading her journal, written from 1979 to 1987, Mother wrote her thoughts and letters to “Dear Poppa”. She journaled her frustrations of widowhood in everyday life. No matter what the frustration or the longing she had for her Herman, she continually praised God for the blessings she enjoyed daily.
Every entry declares Mom’s love for “Dear Poppa”. Although she missed him desperately, taking life step by step into widowhood, that love never wavered. She declared her love daily, “I love you.” She could hear the walls of her home echo, “I love you more.”
Did Mom rest after Poppa died? No, her time was filled with nurturing and encouraging others, writing, gardening, yard work, canning, sewing, and seeing to the every day needs.
Her most blessed times were writing letters to Poppa.
On one page she wrote:
Alone for a moment, memories wash over me.
In the face of a flower, a doorway or favorite chair
To say, “I love you still”.
Alone for a moment
Another wave sweeps by but an inner voice whispers
“Don’t weep, but thank the Lord
For all the love we held.”
Alone for a moment
These brief moments lessen for love returns to union
When boundaries of time and space are gone forever and ever
Never to be alone.
I remember how often I told my Jesus, “I love you.”
And I hear his echoing voice whisper, “I love you more.”
I cannot see my Lord, but I know He is with me. I see Him in the joys and needs of those around me. I thank Him for the way He gives me strength to give His love to others in ways that count for Jesus. But no matter how much I love Him, He loves me more. A verse I learned as a girl, “I love Him because He first loved me.”
The LORD delights in those who fear him,
who put their hope in his unfailing love. Psalm 147:11