When you hear the name “Zane,” perhaps you immediately think of the famous writer of western fiction, Zane Gray; but I don’t. I think of the sweet and gentle person imprisoned in a body that has betrayed him from birth by the cruel ravages of cerebral palsy. Zane is the nephew of my husband, George, a retired Seventh-day Adventist pastor. We are blessed by his love and cheerfulness each time we visit him.
We recently visited his group home to return a part of his specialized chair that my husband repaired. When we arrived, Zane was quietly lying on his pillow. His caregiver had already assisted him with his bath and tucked him into crisp, white linens for the night. His television was on and the remote control was propped on his chest, so he could change his channels with a gnarled finger. The television set is his magic carpet into the exciting and ever-changing outside world.
Around the room was an array of Zane’s personal belongings. His chair occupied a special spot, just waiting to take him on his journeys to work and other parts of his home. The dresser drawers were left slightly open to reveal sweaters, t-shirts, and other items of clothing. A gift from his grandmother, a beautifully crocheted afghan, was folded neatly at the foot of his bed. Pictures were displayed on the wall above his bed, including his favorite, a poster of the late Dale Earnhardt, Sr.
After adjusting Zane’s chair and saying some words of cheer, we knew we had to leave. I softly asked my husband if he would have a parting prayer for Zane. After George ended the prayer with “Amen,” I looked down into Zane’s beautiful, angelic face to see a tiny tear in the outer corner of his left eye.
I asked Zane if he loved Jesus, and he replied, “Yeah.” At that point, I leaned over the bed railing and gently dried that tiny tear with my finger. My own eyes were filled to the brim with tears as I stroked his head and brow, and whispered a goodbye to this precious child of God.
I know that we serve a loving God who wants to end all this sorrow and suffering. After the Second Coming, no more will Satan, the devourer, come to kill, destroy, and inflict pain. God longs to have us come home where He has promised to wipe away all tears from our eyes — even the tiniest tear.
Charlotte Garrick is 86 years old and loves to write. Her husband, George, is a retired Seventh-day Adventist pastor.