Before beginning my daily chores, I scan through the news in hopes that I might have escaped the usual reports of war, of suffering, of injustice and of grand-scale tragedies. It's never happened but every once in a while something beautiful rolls across the screen. That was the case this week when I came upon the touching story of a couple who'd died just fifteen hours apart.
Where normally the deaths of a couple in such a short time would have conjured up thoughts of an horrendous auto accident or even worse, a murder-suicide, these deaths were a tribute to the kind of a marriage most people only dream about. United for seventy years, they still held hands at the breakfast table; so completely one with each other were they that when death took the first, the other quickly followed.
I am not so naïve to believe that they never worked their way through differences of opinion but work their way through, they did. Whatever challenges they faced they obviously were so committed to each other that "for better or for worse" were more than mere words.
Since reading that inspiring news I've let my imagination run a bit wild: was the couple financially secure? What was his occupation? were there children from that union? How did they meet the inevitable struggles of life?
Of course I'll never know the answers but I've been reminded that respect, sincerity and non-hypocritical love are key to more than just marriage relationships. Be they family, friend, work colleagues, members of a faith community or neighbours, each person we meet is enriched when we live with integrity in all our dealings.
"Be kindly affectionate to one another…in honour giving preference to one another…distributing to the needs of the saints….given to hospitality...repay no evil for evil...live in peace" (Romans 12:10-18)