Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Catalogues of spousal shortcomings can't break the bonds of love

Ken sits with his wife Catherine as she lays dying.

Her death is proceeding slowly.

She can not turn over or even scratch herself.

Ken meets her every need.

He even  serves as her personal bathroom hygiene attendant, not an easy task.

But he does it with joy.

And with complete love.

The couple spends every moment together, she motionless on the bed, he in the chair next to her.

Catherine has lost all bodily function except one.

God in his grace allows her to speak.

Colleen, a neighbor girl about 25 years old,  checks in on Catherine and Ken.

She gets them to tell stories from their long marriage.

In few of these tales,  Ken didn't live up to Catherine's expectations.

"Ken, you were such a jerk that time," whispers Catherine.

Colleen laughs.

Ken laughs.

Then Catherine laughs too.

At the absurdity of it all.

Catherine knows she is dying in the presence of this gentle caring man.

And yet, for a brief instant, she got mad at him all over again as if the offending event had just occurred.


This much is clear.

Ken and Catherine had an imperfect relationship.

Disputes over personal failings.

Moments of antagonism.

But in the end , Love prevails.

My Dad used to play tapes of an old radio show called "The Bickersons".

Frances Langford and Don Ameche played a married couple constantly carping at one another.

Always arguing.

She a nag, he an insensitive bore.

But loving each other.

There for each other when the chips are down.

Our popular culture has produced many other examples.

Archie and Edith Bunker.

Raymond  and his wife  Debra on "Everybody loves Raymond."

How about you?

Is your marriage imperfect?

I bet it is.

Join the club.

Prince Charming I'm not.

And June Cleaver is a fantasy.

However,  when life interrupts your fairy tale,  the golden core of love is revealed at the center.

The irritating habits of your beloved can't sweep away the unbreakable connection of loyalty and devotion.

The love endures.

When your spouse lies in bed dying, you recall the good times and the bad.

 Then you laugh and cry together.

Don't  let the  repeated acts  of infuriating carelessness get to you.

Instead cherish the one you love, warts and all.

Because it's the love that counts.

Love often unspoken, but softly saying, "I'll always be there  for you."

Yes, your marriage is remarkably imperfect.

Stunningly less than ideal.

Know that your love may be the only thing that you take with you into eternity.

Your love makes you rich, despite the bills, forgetting to let the dog out, and bad breath.

Remember Ken and his  Catherine.

Be there for each other to the very end.

"Good bye, my dearest  Catherine.  This is your Ken telling you this: I will see you on the other side, still with you, forever."


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