Author Mark Shea is a great conversationalist. In discussing the Ten Commandments recently, he pointed out that they are the “minimum daily requirements” of our faith. When people wonder what’s the very least they can do to make it to heaven, the Ten Commandments are the answer. “But if you’re asking that question,” Shea says, “you’ve got a big problem. It’s like a bride asking just before her wedding, ‘How many times do I have to kiss him?’”
Shea’s comments reminded me of a wonderful love story in the news this week. The Yeagers, a devoted couple married 72 years, were in an auto accident. They both died shortly thereafter, just an hour apart, in the ICU. They were holding hands.
Despite the persistence of the phrase “till death do us part” in many wedding ceremonies, couples today find that death is not the only challenge they’ll face. Many fall victim to disillusion in the first years of marriage, or succumb to financial challenges, conflicting career demands, addiction, illness, or tragedy. Even for the few who stick it out, though, it’s no bed of roses.
Comedian Louis C.K. puts it this way: Best-case scenario: You meet someone terrific and fall in love. They love you back. You get married, maybe raise a family together, maybe live a very long time. Then you have to watch them die. And that’s the best possible outcome!
Gordon and Norma Yeager seem to have found a better outcome and our faith tells us that we will, too. If we had any doubt that love conquers death, Jesus took the trouble to demonstrate. He died loving us and loves us still. And, when our time is up, we can know that he’ll be waiting for us, along with our loved ones who have gone before us.
It helps, though, to cherish that taste of heavenly love wherever we can find it here. Gordon and Norma did. When have you experienced that kind of love?
Featured image: digitalart