Miss Betsy’s* house is my last stop on my Meals on Wheels route, so I can stay and chat without needing to rush. She’s always in the mood to talk, whether I find her sitting on her porch with a book or she meets me at the door, gripping her walker on wheels. First, I set everything down—the hot meal and the frozen one, the milk and the baggie of bread—and then she thanks me with words and stories.

Sometimes the stories are hard—how cancer took her husband and then it took her older daughter and it nearly took her too— “but I’m still here!” Every week, she tells me about the time she fell out of bed (“Lord knows how that happened! I don’t even remember.”) But the ambulance people were so nice, so kind, and Lucille*, her youngest, managed to get up all the blood. Betsy’s doing much better now, not as energetic as she used to be, but good enough to enjoy things, like the ceramic rabbits Lucille put out on a table.

Sometimes the stories are happy, like the one about the Christmas wreath still setting on her couch. When I mentioned how pretty it was, she grinned big and her eyes sparkled and she said that she and this girl—her occupational therapist—they’d made it themselves. “I told her I needed a new wreath and how I loved the ones with ornaments on them, and don’t you know, that girl made it part of our therapy plan!” She made Betsy do all the gluing—”I’d never used a hot glue gun before—but I did it.” She knows she needs to put it away. “Lord, it’s nearly Easter already. But it’s so pretty to look at, and I miss that girl. I think about her all the time, but now that I got my hands working again, she’s not allowed to come see me anymore.” I nod. “But she says that if anything happens again to me—not that she wants it to—I just tell my doctor and she’ll start coming again.”

Sometimes the stories are hard and happy—and kind of funny. Like the time a nurse came to visit after she got out of the hospital, AND THAT NURSE WAS A MAN! “I’d never seen a man nurse before, but that boy was so sweet and so gentle and so kind that I got used to him quick. He was so determined to get me walking again that one day he said, ‘Miss Betsy, today you’re going to walk down your road.’ Well, I didn’t know how I was gonna manage that, but then HE GOT OUT A ROPE!” He tied that rope around his waist and then he tied it around her waist, and “WE WERE HITCHED TOGETHER!” It was right comical, she said, the two of them hobbling down the road together, a man nurse tied to a broken-down old lady. He wasn’t going to let her fall, no sir. They walked quite a ways, and boy, she slept good after that.

It’s Good Friday today, so maybe that’s why Miss Betsy’s helpers remind me so much of the One who came to hitch his life to ours, if we’re willing. To meet us where we are, no matter our brokenness, and walk beside us through our lives. To lift us off the floor when we can’t do it on our own. To show us how to love each other and care for each other, with mercy, grace, gentleness, and bravery, all the way to the end.

You can’t kill that kind of love.

No matter how dark things get, it blooms.


*Names have been changed for privacy.