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“Liz, it’s a miracle—an answer to prayer!” said my lawyer, settling around my dining room table with his son, and Candace, the Notary Public. “The surgeon just called with the lab results—he got all the cancer—Janet’ll be okay.” His glistening blue eyes opened me to the depths of his bruised heart. I knew that he, too, would be okay.

Two days ago I had called my lawyer’s office and was referred to his home where he was tending the needs of his wife of fifty-eight years, convalescing from surgery. His garbled speech, his huge anxiety, and his inability to track the changes in my will that I was requesting gave me considerable pause. It had been several years since our last meeting.

However, with his son as back up should he be unable to function, I later made the necessary amendments to my legal documents that were ready for my signature this afternoon. But the signing was delayed. My lawyer was still on a roll, his round flushed face filled with more stories.

“You remember the old Maryville College and Mother Scott?” I nodded as his smile deepened. I had my own stories about her. “More of a matchmaker for her girls than Dean of Women—for some reason she didn’t like me dating Janet when I was in law school. Thought she could do better—lucky for me, Janet felt otherwise.” Though changed in some ways, his charcoal suit and red-stripe tie gave him a distinguished mien.

“Now Dad, remember that we’re here for Liz,” his son said as he handed me a pen.


She prays.

Slowly, her veined hand moves across his sunken chest. No longer is there a heartbeat. He is gone. Unfathomable peace suffuses his shriveled remains. Within that sacred moment she rests—fulfilled are her vows of almost seven years, pronounced that festive afternoon in their parish church where they had met at daily Mass, their snowy hair enhancing their flushed faces. Afterwards, merriment enlivened their white-tent reception filled with families and friends. It was all about love with its inherent sacrifices.

She prays.

Of little consequence, now, were his temper tantrums, rigid judgments, blaming—behaviors exacerbated by his Parkinson’s Dementia, three years into the marriage. Of little consequence was his frequent need in the middle of the night to pack his things in a pillowcase and go home. Of little consequence was his emptying the contents of the kitchen drawers into the refrigerator, of flooding the bathroom floor. Of little consequence was his violent reaction to placement in a skilled nursing facility, despite painstaking preparations. Now, he lives in eternal life and that’s all that matters.

She prays. Her eyes glisten.

Salted by keen suffering, she lives the mandate of Jesus Christ to be “the salt of the earth.”

Her name is Mary.



The outer door opens a crack, an NB scuffed shoe wedges it open further, a right shoulder leans into it even further. A right hand reaches around for the wheeled cart behind him and thrusts it inside the doctor’s waiting room. It is the hospital courier making his morning rounds.


Patients fret behind magazines or I Phones. A toddler strews plastic blocks on the floor, then retrieves them. The drama deepens. No matter that the courier’s withered left arm flops around like flotsam on roiling waves; nor that his gait lists wildly to the left. He is on a mission to deliver the mail and pickup more generated by the clerical staff. A distant smile lightens his Ichabod Crane face and illumines his significant impairments. This is a simple man of deep joy.


He carries the message well to those who understand it. Then he disappears into the inner office. He will return at the end of the day


Four years, in all weathers, this lanky courier has pulled his wheeled cart to doctors’ offices and made his deliveries. Before then, he had worked in the hospital’s mailroom, according to the receptionist.


Such are the truly great ones among us! We do well to pay attention.


His name is Jim.




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