The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Wally's keys

Wally Krahn was unlocking a door with one of the dozens of keys he wore on the industrial-strength ring attached to his belt. My family had come for an appointment with the pastor. We were early, and Wally, the janitor, let us in. Deep laugh lines emphasized his smile as he held the door open for us.Wally made us feel welcome as he swept the floors and polished toddler fingerprints off the plateglass doors.

When I started teaching Sunday school, Wally was the one I turned to when I needed an extension cord, a mop or access to the supply closet. For Wally's 75th birthday the church threw him a party. He was gracious, as always, but uncomfortable too. He wasn't used to being the center of attention. After the party, he changed clothes and cleaned up the mess.

Last year Wally's health began to fail, and at the age of 88, he died. At the viewing his tool belt and overalls were displayed with his hammers and saw. They told the story of the quiet worker he was.


Print subscribers and supporting Web members may comment.

Log in or Subscribe to comment.

text size:

this page: email | print

February issue


Embracing diversity