When I first started to date my wife, she introduced me to some of the important people in her life. I knew I was in trouble the first hour after I met her when she took me to meet her parents.Talk about pressure! While it was the first hour of our first date, we actually had been talking everyday for nearly two months before meeting in person for the first time.

The day before my wife and I first met online, I prayed to God that He would lead me to the spouse He wanted me to be with the rest of my life. I told Him that I would stop doing it my way and follow His. I would go where He would lead me. The next day, my wife and I would meet online. We exchanged E-mail addresses and the next night we had our first text conversation. That first night, like every night since, our conversation ended with prayer.

The fifth day of date week, yes it was a week of dates due to my living in Indiana and she in Minnesota, I was introduced to Howard. His first question was, "Do you pray?" His second was "Do you thank God for that special woman (Jean) in your life?" He said that was why he was so blessed and if I wanted someday to marry Jean, I'd need his permission. He knew then what we eventually would come to discover.

In time I would meet Howard's bride, Anita. It was easy to understand why he asked me the questions on our first visit. He was a man of God and he was blessed with a wonderful wife and partner, Anita.

Howard and Anita were not rich in the monetary sense. Their riches were in their love for each other. They would shower others with the little trinkets that they could afford, but their biggest gift to those they met was serving others as God intended. They were examples for Jean and I. 

Within a year of our meeting, Howard's health would decline. At the same time, Jean and I would see our love for each other blossom. It was inevitable. We were going to be married. I knew how I was going to propose, but I needed Howard's approval so shortly after Valentine's Day, my wife and I scheduled a visit to see Howard.

Jean had expressed that she wanted to be surprised with the proposal, but it couldn't be cheesy. Whatever I did, DO NOT PROPOSE ON VALENTINE'S DAY. So I didn't, but I still wanted it to be a surprise. 

Jean knew that I was bringing the ring to show Howard and ask his permission. What she didn't know, was that right after he said it was OK that I was going to propose. When I told Howard I needed his permission, he agreed. He was seated upright in bed, Jean and Anita were sitting on the edge, and I was in a chair that was between Jean and Howard in the row if you were taking a picture.

Nonchalantly, as I was asking for Howard's permission, I slipped to a kneel on one knee while Jean focused on his response. He gave his approval only if she agreed to it as well. Immediately, Anita said, "Yes!" as I was placing the ring on Jean's finger."Yes!" continued Anita. Congratulations were exchanged immediately.

On the way out the door, Jean asked me if I wanted the ring back for when I propose to her. She stood there dumbfounded, not realizing that Anita had said "yes" and that this WAS the proposal.

But that was Howard and Anita. Their love was infectious. They cared about others. They volunteered and served. They were both born on the same day and would celebrate their birthday with the second grade school children of their parish. They cared about others. Most importantly, they said, "Yes" when called upon their faith.

Many times when we say "yes" we usually do it with conditions. "Yes, but.." is a common reply. When I was diagnosed with Parkinson's, I didn't say, "Yes, but." I said, "Yes" to God's will. Years ago, I would have placed conditions on my answer, but not now.

My life has been richer because I had a living example of "Yes." He placed Howard and Anita in our lives to teach us this important one word. Yes. It's the same word spoken by many other humble servants. She said, "Yes!"

"Let it be me according to thy word."
Luke 1:38
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

God has now brought Howard and Anita home and one day we will join them there. While we may not see them before us, we are comforted in His answer of "Yes" to our concerns.

"...fear not, for I am with you;
    be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
Isaiah 41:10