The Professor and his Wife


He got out of the car and stood on the kerb. His wife linked arms and they walked towards the steps. A brief pause, then they climbed the seven steps together. Another brief pause. They moved forward. Ahead the path takes a 90 degree turn to the left. Reaching the bend, she drew his arm ever so slightly towards her. Together they wheeled left and continued.

Reaching the steps leading to the presbytery veranda she gave a slight downward tug followed by the lightest lift of his elbow. They climbed the two concrete steps together. Again, a slight pressure of her hand on his arm. They turned to the right and walked to where I awaited them. Then, it dawned on me. My guest, Professor Moag, distinguished linguist and expert on Hindi language, was blind.

As I prepared coffee for them I reflected on the exquisite delicacy of their partnership. She did not command or even speak. He was completely attentive to her touch. Neither one hurried. Everything was done together, almost as one. He was making himself available. She was his essential guide.

I have forgotten now what information I received from the Professor that evening but the lesson of his partnership with his wife remains.

We Christians are the Professor. We have a mission - a service to give, a witness to offer. But we are blind to how we should do it. Obstacles lie before us. We might fall. It seems safer to stay put, to do nothing. But the invitation is persistent and we have a partner to guide us.

The Spirit won’t command or demand; won’t embarrass or force us. Her touch is gentle and light. We must give full attention. Without her direction we won’t reach our destination. Walking together as one, we partner with the Spirit. We are led to where we should go; we live our Pentecost.

by Fr. Frank Hoare