Tuesday, January 9, 2007

January 7: Tears

His face was distinguished. An older man, his hair was grey and thinning. He wore wire-frame glasses which rested on his long, crooked nose. Tall and lean, he sat up straight. A tailored blue tweed blazer rested perfectly on his broad shoulders. His lips were thin and slightly grey. He sat in front of me, to my left, immediately in front of the window to which I turned when the words of the sermon touched me. It was an intimate moment in the service, and the intimacy took me by surprise. The minister's words captured the human experience so marvelously, so powerfully. It felt like he was peering into the soul of each one there, knowingly telling of our failures and our need for grace. When I turned to the window, the light from outside sparkled in the thin stream of tears running down the man's face. He didn't move. For a moment, his lips trembled. He swallowed hard, then reached to wipe the tears with the palm of his hand. His wife moved in closer, putting her hand on his leg, and without looking at him, patted it, her shoulders square and strong. How had his life turned from what he'd planned? Did he make a mistake? Had he been betrayed by someone he trusted? What did the words of grace and promise mean to him? I don't know his name. I know nothing about him. But, in that moment, I knew him as my brother, another in need of the grace that redeems those things we want to forget.

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