Since tobacco has been proven to cause cancer, its use has declined to a degree, leaving growers, producers, and warehouses in the wake. One such warehouse is The Tobacco Warehouse in Liverpool, England. With the decline of tobacco use, the warehouse became a ghost. Of course, it was a warehouse, and could have continued to be useful, but somehow, no one wanted to use it, and it slowly fell into disrepair. The logical solution would have been to tear it down, but since the site is considered a key landmark and World Heritage Site, it can’t be torn down. So, what now?
The Tobacco Warehouse was built in 1901, and the dream was to build the biggest warehouse the world had ever seen. It was to be a building fit for a thriving city at the heart of global trade…Liverpool, England. They thought this was going to be a thriving business that would last a lifetime, but they didn’t plan on the fallout from the discovery that tobacco was linked to cancer. Suddenly everyone was quitting, or at least encouraged to do so, and the warehouse was used less and less…and finally not at all.
Operations at The Tobacco Warehouse stopped in the last portion of the 20th century, and its decline began then. So many old buildings, when they are no longer taken care of, begin to simply fall apart and become a danger to anyone who gets near them. The thing about The Tobacco Warehouse, was that it wasn’t an ugly building, and it had some amazing views. It was right by the water. In fact, because it was a harbor warehouse, it had the uniqueness of the docks and the view over the water. The whole thing together seemed perfect to create an apartment complex. Of course, it would be something geared toward the young people, artists, and writers, but of course, anyone could rent there as well. They are actually called “hipster lofts.” So, the Tobacco Warehouse in Liverpool’s Stanley Dock could become the city’s newest residential hotspot, and all worthy of a Beatle! Most people wouldn’t really consider living in a warehouse, but the industrial look is very popular now, so this is a good fit.
When you have been given a miracle in the form of a second chance in life, you don’t want to waste it. Just under nine months ago, on October 14, 2018, I received a second chance miracle. It wasn’t that I didn’t appreciate what I had or anything like that, but rather it was that I could have lost my husband, but by a miracle of God, I didn’t. That second chance miracle makes this particular birthday…my husband, Bob Schulenberg’s 65th, even more special than it would have otherwise been. A landmark birthday, like the 65th is always special, but we almost didn’t see it for Bob, so this birthday is almost like a re-birth. I find myself feeling a little more emotional than I might have otherwise been, because he is still here, and I realize how very blessed I am.
I think a second chance miracle tends to bring with it some added responsibilities, however. When you are given a second chance, you need to spend the time wisely. Things like working out and eating right come to mind. A heart attack can make people quit, but not Bob. I have been very proud of Bob’s determination to stay healthy and to make the most out of his second chance miracle. I have seen many people who didn’t want to do the rehab that was prescribed for them. I’ve heard all the possible excuses. It hurts!! It’s hard work!! I have other things to do!! All of these excuses simply say that the person speaking them doesn’t appreciate the second chance they have been given. Bob has never once said anything like that, but rather went faithfully to his cardiac rehab, and when he had completed the course, he decided to continue in the maintenance program and his own expense. Its not required, but Bob wanted his full life back, not just a much slower version of existence that he would have to settle for.
Bob and I love to hike, and we have plans to continue hiking for years to come…especially now that we are both retired, and we have more time and the freedom to go and hike when and where we want to. That is a very liberating thing for us, and we are very excited about it. Bob and I have decided that we aren’t going to let anything slow us down. The road ahead will not be an easy one, because hiking, being in good shape, and preparing for hikes is not easy. It’s a lot of work, but when you reach the top of that mountain trail, and you look out on the view from the top, you know that you don’t ever want to be stuck at the bottom of that hill. Today is Bob’s 65th birthday. Happy birthday Sweetie!! I love you!!
Bob and I have reached another almost unheard of landmark in our marriage…38 years together. Of course, at this point in our marriage, we reach another almost unheard of landmark every year. It’s not that we are the only ones to ever reach this landmark, and in fact, I know several other people who have reached this one and beyond. It is simply that in a world where marriages have almost become disposable, those of us who manage to endure are rather rare.
When people have been married a long time, it seems like everyone wants to know what they attribute their marital success to, and everyone has some profound way that they managed such an amazing feat. Personally, I don’t think there is really any such thing as a perfect formula. Every marriage is different, the two people in the marriage are different, and the circumstances are different. What might work to keep one couple together, might just tear another couple apart. Therefore, I simply choose to say that by the grace of God we are still together. We aren’t perfect, but God loves us, and he has helped us through the difficult times and brought us to this place.
Through the years, we have been blessed with 2 daughters, Corrie and Amy, and their husbands, Kevin and Travis, and their children Chris, Shai, Caalab, and Josh. Our lives have been filled with much happiness, and a few sad times, but then we all go through loss and sadness. Nevertheless, we managed to cling to each other during the sad times, and rejoice together during the happy times. And we have worked together during the times when it was necessary to pull together to achieve the important goals. We have cared for our children, helped with our grandchildren, and now, we are caring for our parents. Yes, sometimes the work was very hard, and it seemed like we would not win against sickness or disease, but again, by the grace of God, we were able to pull through and not only do the things we needed to do, but have victory after victory along the way. There is such sweet victory when God guides your path, especially in caring for others.
No one knows where the road will go from here, and what new challenges the journey might bring. What we do know is that because of God’s help, we will be together through our remaining years, and every day will bless us more, because every day in the Lord is sweeter than the day before. I can’t tell you any perfect formula for making marriage last, but I can tell you that for me God’s grace and patient leading, His son Jesus’ sacrifice in my place, and His comforting Spirit are the only way we could possible have managed such a feat, because with out God, I know we probably would have failed. So I give God all the glory, all the honor, and all the praise, and I thank He each and every day for the wonderful man He gave me to walk the paths of this earth with. What a blessing Bob has been to me. I love you Bob, and I thank God for you every day.