I hold her hand.

And stroke her hair gently.

And getting enough courage, I steal a kiss from her cheek.

And when she finally smiles at me, I think I am one incredibly lucky guy.

Tracy is already a young woman.

But her head is bent downward, and drool flows through one side of her mouth, and her face is bereft of any expression. She can’t speak. Or move by herself. Every once in a while, someone has to shift the position of her head, her arms, her legs -- or else they becomes painfully sore. (Doctors regularly give her painkillers.)

And the hand I hold is small for her age and contorted. Her limbs are terribly thin, twisted, and abnormally short, and have to be strapped in a special wheelchair.

She doesn’t eat the way you and I do. She’s fed through a tube attached straight through her abdomen. Some would call her a vegetable.

I wouldn’t. Because her name is Tracy.

And there’s one thing she does well, despite all these.

Tracy smiles.

And her smile takes your breath away.

You see, she is able to smile when she likes something.

It’s the only way she communicates.

So I playfully rub the back of her neck, and whisper to her ear, “Tracy, do you like this? Smile if you do…”

She does, and it’s so sweet, you’d fall in love with her right there. I wipe her saliva with her bib, which is now soaking wet, and continue to hold her hand for the rest of the day.

I go home with tears in my eyes.

The next morning, I visit her again.

I can’t get away.

Yes, I know the past days were the most unproductive days of my life: no articles written, no preaching made, no songs composed, no meetings held, no books read, no plans designed...

All I did was hold her hand.

And allowed myself to be loved by a smile.

But the peace I felt!

And I realize why: I was being deeply transformed by the power of this girl - the one who couldn’t even move a finger.

Tracy was training my soul to love well. She was training me to love one person, one face, one heart at a time. And she was training me to find love in the most unexpected places.

Even her memory speaks to me, asking me to slow down if I want to really love.

I picture her in my mind, and she smiles.

She tells me that I always have a choice.

I can make life beautiful.

(Click here to view the rest of the many wonderful articles that await you in, America's Catholic Lifestyle Magazine)

1 comment:

Tamal Krishna Chandra said...

The beauty of your life is while you cannot undo what is already done. But you can see it, understand it, learn from it and change.