Family matters

Column: Witnesses truly blessed by loving couple’s example

by Jacki Corrigan 

There are a myriad of ways that love is shared with others, but one picture always comes to the mind of my husband, our daughter, granddaughter and myself.

Every Saturday evening, the four of us sat in the same pew. We were almost always behind a couple that had recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.

It happened right before our eyes. It was the words to “The Servant Song” unfolding in every caring gesture: “Will you let me be your servant, let me be as Christ to you.”

The love, care and concern that Mackie bestowed on his beautiful wife Pat was so gently given as gift, that it became golden to those of us who gathered in the pews of our church. Their love greatly impacted us as a family as we watched unselfish love in action.

To sit behind them was to witness many moments of tender love for one another as Mackie gently attended to her.

Then one day, Pat came in with a portable oxygen tank, and we saw Mackie’s attentiveness become even more centered. He did so lovingly and with great tenderness. Her beautiful smile for him was a visible “thank you” that echoed yet another line of “The Servant Song”: “Pray that I may have the grace to let you me my servant too.”

Soon she graduated to a much larger oxygen tank on wheels, and all of our hearts responded with deep concern.

Mackie’s tender response to her as he anticipated her every need magnified her dignity. Another line of “The Servant Song” reflected his love: “We are here to help each other walk the mile and bear the load.”

The day came when she was no longer at his side. It is a vision engraved in our hearts. My husband turned and looked over at me with seldom-seen tears in his eyes. I looked at our daughter, and my tears met hers. She, in turn, looked to her daughter, and again, tears met tears. The shared pain that rose up in all of us was one that encompassed many losses: the earthly separation of Pat and Mackie, the soft and vibrant love that overflowed to those who resided in the beauty of their love, and the sacramental sign they had been to those lives they had touched.

When we left church and sat silently as the parking lot cleared, our teenage granddaughter spoke up and said, “We were truly blessed because we were able to see what real love is.”

With hearts longing to be engulfed in that image of faithfulness, we nodded our heads and agreed, “Yes, we were indeed richly blessed.”

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The Leaven

The Leaven is the official newspaper for the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.

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