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By Tim Brown Refl ection

Touch I went to see her with a baby strapped to

my chest. She was the oldest member of the congregation at the time, some 98 years old. My son was the youngest member, only 2 months old. That day he was going to have to make a visit with me. She was on her deathbed. Literally. She would

die about two weeks after our visit. Her home was a veritable museum of 98 years of life: faded family photos, more framed pictures than the walls could handle, knickknacks galore and her trusty puppy Charlie who liked everyone except those who wanted to visit for too long. In her final years she began collecting stuffed

animals, which she gladly gave me to pass on to children—on this occasion my new child. She couldn’t see or hear very well. My son slept

soundly on my chest like babies do most of their hours at that age, which is good because I had to yell. She clapped when she saw what I was hiding under the sling. When I revealed a tiny hand she reached hers up to touch his. “His name is Findley,” I yelled. She smiled brightly. As I guided her hand to his, I realized

just how similar their skin felt. They were both 20 MAY 2016

newborn. He, new to this world. She, soon to be new to eternal life. He wrapped his finger around hers, and she shed

a tear. Their touch brought images flashing through my mind: Michelangelo’s “Creation of Adam,” infinity touching at both ends, Anna praising the child Jesus in the temple, a photo of my great- grandmother holding me just before her death. If only all home visits could mean so much. I bent low and she gave a parting kiss to my son’s

head, a benediction of sorts. One just leaving giving a blessing to one just arriving. Every May I remember that moment. A moment

of new life to match the flowers. That year my son was born on the eve of Easter, and I missed celebrating the resurrection in church because we were in the hospital. But two weeks after that visit we celebrated

another resurrection, hers. So I guess I really didn’t miss anything at all.

Brown is a pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Raleigh, N.C.



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