Today, I stopped by a business I frequent from time to time. The two ladies who own and run the place often stop and chat with me. One was leaving, but the other asked me if I knew her husband had died recently. She told me how he’d suffered over the years; she spoke briefly about their life and about his last days. We even found out her late husband and my husband retired from the same police department.
This lady told me an older woman came in one day and told her, “At least your husband died loving you.” The older woman’s husband had left her years ago for another woman. Obviously it still hurt after all these years. When I heard that I told the lady who’d recently lost her husband how true the fact of having a loving marriage through it all was special. I told her one thing my own husband has taught me, through his actions and words, was to say “Thank you.” I have to say his example, even after twelve years, has opened my eyes to the need of sharing appreciation. She smiled and said her husband did the same thing. She said he told her thank you, and he said it often. I left with thankfulness again for the husband God has sent me.
When my husband and I married, our priest said sometimes the three most important words aren’t always, “I love you.” Sometimes the most important words are, “I need you.” We can be independent men or independent women, and sometimes it is hard to voice our needs. It can be difficult to share a new life with someone or old life for that matter. The key word is “share.” However, the key is to acknowledge the need for each other and to say those words of, “thank you.”
On the way home, I started to think about how this relates to Jesus as the Groom and the Church as His Bride. We know our need for Him and why we should continually be thankful. The question is how does Jesus need us? The answer is He doesn’t, but in love He gives us the ability to be needed by Him. He needs our hands, our feet, and our witness to His heart. He has shown His appreciation for us by sacrificing Himself and opening the door to eternal life with Him.
Like the groom for his bride, Jesus’ desire is for our gaze and heart to belong to Him alone. God has the ability to do whatever He chooses, but He gave us free will. Why would He do this? Maybe because He knows a forced love is not true. He could force us to love Him, and we would truly love Him, but it wouldn’t be freely given. By giving us free will, He knows when we come to Him through a relationship of discovery we will find we love Him the Creator of love. Though we may come through much pain, worry, sorrow and life’s troubles, we acknowledge the blessings of joy, friendship and love. No matter our lot in life we have reason to be thankful. The one physically wounded may still be thankful for a whole mind and spirit. The one spiritually wounded may still be thankful for a whole physical life….and the list goes on.