A year ago the Super Bowl was held in Houston, Texas. The most poignant moment of the entire game for me, the coin toss, was watched by millions. Chosen to toss the commemorative coin was former President, George H.W. Bush and his loved-by-all wife, Barbara.
They were led onto the field, he in a wheelchair, she walking behind him. The sight unexpectedly stirred emotions in almost everyone.
Someone posted on Twitter, “Why am I crying as I watch these two people come out on the field?”
I teared up too.
Do you know why?
The Bushes, as imperfect as the rest of us, were a model to our nation of unending love. Covenant-keeping love.
The sight of them together, and the announcement that they’d been married an astonishing 72 years at the time, reminded us what matters most in life. We see this so rarely in our world full of super stars and ordinary neighbors who divorce repeatedly.
As I think about Barbara, who died a few days ago, I remember a message she gave decades ago to the graduating class of Wellesley College. She said:
“As important as your obligations as a doctor, a lawyer, or a business leader may be, your human connections with spouses, children, friends, are the most important investment you will ever make. At the end of your life you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict or not losing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a child, a friend, a parent.”
For one brief moment, what matters most in life, marriage for life, was on display, center stage, for millions around the world to see. We knew it. We felt it. And we cried because it’s what we all most desire in the depths of our souls.
Thank you, Barbara and George, for showing us what for better or for worse looks like all the way to the end.
We will miss your beautiful face, your fierce loyalty and your ever present pearls. You were a classy woman, Barbara!
It’s an honor to share your name!