A half smile and a nod


If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?
And if I am only for myself, then what am I?
And if not now, when? – Hillel

Last evening, at the offender’s request, I was a ministerial witness to his execution. There were only two witnesses for him, and I was the only one who actually knew him. During the past 13 years, we had conversed countless times as I visited the prison where he lived. My role there is as an assistant chaplain.

From what I could tell, my eyes were the only ones he made contact with as he was lying on the gurney. He gave a half smile and a nod in response to my nod.

The above quote bubbled up as I reflect on this morning after.

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4 Responses to “A half smile and a nod”

  1. maskednative Says:

    I am deeply moved by this post Tom. I cannot imagine, how it must have been for you, and the offender you were so loyal to. You travel in this world with great compassion. Your quote brings the suddenness of such a dreadful moment.

  2. chrisbkm Says:

    I can only sit and stare at this post Tom and read it again, and again. The depth of your experience is beyond my ability to respond… with anything but admiration and appreciation for your voice. Thank you.

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