He smiles through wrinkles, his pain hiding behind the smile. He says she’s in a nursing home now. And a tear slides down his cheek. He brushes the tear away. She doesn’t see.

He pushes the wheelchair. They move slowly up the ramp he had built for her, from the driveway to the front door. He built a  ramp– so she could visit her home.

And he’s never in his home anymore, because he’s with her in that other home, and he’s with her because that’s where he is at home.

One day I see him pushing his bride in the wheelchair up the incline and to the door, her white veil replaced with a crown of silver. And she is beautiful, secure, beaming… because she is loved.

And not alone.

Did she ask him to do it, did she have to say, “I can’t do this alone.”

Or did he simply “do”?  Did he say… “I’m here, and you’re not alone. I’m going with you.”

She let go– of his hand and sat in that chair. And trusted someone else to do her walking.

He placed his hands on that wheelchair… and let go of himself.

I don’t know who said what. Or who did what. Or how it all transpired. Or anything much more. Or their names.

I really only know about a ramp, a tear, and of days. Days. One day spilling into the next, leading up to this day, with a ramp and a wheelchair and a tear.

The tear offers a clue– of a life graced with empathy, mercy, love… of kindnesses spoken and given… of something sweet amidst the hardness in this world and in its people.

I didn’t need to know anything else. The tear told me everything I needed to know.

“… but the greatest of these is love.” I Corinthians 13:13


I cannot do this alone.
O God, early in the morning I cry to you.
Help me to pray
And to concentrate my thoughts on you;
I cannot do this alone.

In me there is darkness,
But with you there is light;
I am lonely, but you do not leave me;
I am feeble in heart; but with you there is help;
I am restless, but with you there is peace.
In me there is bitterness, but with you there is patience;
I do not understand your ways
But you know the way for me…

Restore me to liberty,
And enable me to live now
That I may answer before you and before men.
Lord, whatever this day may bring,
Your name be praised.

— Dietrich Bonhoeffer


(from the archives)
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