Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Marriage is a dance

Ninety-four year old Mary Coffey is dying of congestive heart failure. Well, that's okay, she says--she's lived a full life. But there was one last thing she wanted to do:
Her late husband proposed to her while they were dancing the waltz. She said she believed it was their weekly ballroom sessions that kept the marriage alive. [...]

Coffey has congestive heart failure and doctors have given her six months to live. Volunteers at Mesquite's Christian Care Center asked Coffey what she still wanted to do before she dies; what was on her bucket list?

"She said she would like to have a waltz, one last waltz," said Georgia Place, with the Christian Care Center.

So Place said she and some others decided they would make Coffey's dream come true. They found her a pink dress, tiara, a live band, limo, and – of course – dance partners.

The Dallas Arboretum served as the backdrop during Tuesday night's Concert Series In The Park. The first song ended up being Coffey's last dance.

"If I go tonight, I know I will go to a better place and happy because I have relatives to see," she said.

When asked how Coffey felt about her "last dance," she said it was the last one on this planet but there is still a place where she will have another spin on the dance floor: Heaven.
If you can go to the link and watch the video to the right of the story without tearing up, you're made of much sterner stuff than I am.

Now, I'm a terrible dancer myself, though Thad is a great one. I remember when we were dating, and we were invited to the wedding of friends of his, he tried to teach me to dance, just a few ballroom steps. We had a tape-player (yes, cassette tapes, for the younger of my readers) and a space in the upstairs hallway of my parents' home which was free of furniture and thus less risky for an utter klutz like I am. I didn't learn to dance, but I did learn that this man I was falling in love with was patient, kind, with a good sense of humor and plenty of determination. I can't hear the song Cherry Pink and Apple-Blossom White without remembering those dance sessions, and the feelings I was starting to have for the sweet man who was trying against insurmountable odds to teach me to dance.

But whether you can dance or not, it's true that marriage is a dance. It takes a man and a woman acting with the same kind of unity that dance partners exhibit--a unity which respects the individual, but is ordered toward a reality greater than each. In marriage, the equation is not one plus one equals two; it is one plus one plus God equals--one. We could never achieve that unity without the sacramental grace of the sacrament, just as the dancers would find it hard to achieve unity without dance steps and music.

Tomorrow Thad and I will celebrate our anniversary. I still can't dance--but that doesn't stop me from understanding Mary Coffey's story, from understanding that the dance of love that is at the heart of marriage is something transcendent and lasting. I'm blessed beyond words to be married to someone who exhibits that understanding of love and marriage in everything he is and does, every day we share in the sacramental unity of our lives together.


Meghan said...

Happy Anniversary Erin & Thad!


Erin Manning said...

Thanks, sis! :)

Anonymous said...

Blessings! Thanks for sharing; it's a blessing to hear of a sweet story like this!

Anonymous said...

Happy Anniversary!

--Elizabeth B.

freddy said...

Happy Anniversary! God bless you guys!

chimakuni said...

Happy Blessed Anniversary!

Larry Denninger said...

Happy Anniversary, Erin! Many many more!!