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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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When Elly comes to visit

'We're family together and with God'

My 5-year-old daughter, Elly, rushes into the care facility, grasping a just-found penny in her hand. She approaches two women visiting in the lobby. Holding out her tiny fists she asks, “Can you guess which hand has a penny?” Elly laughs when the women get it right. She laughs harder when they choose the wrong hand.

We’re visiting Tracy Walls, a 40-year-old woman with a seizure disorder. In March 2005, Tracy had a seizure that damaged her brain. At first she couldn’t walk or breathe on her own. Two years later, Tracy walks but has difficulty dressing and remembering things. When we get to Tracy’s floor, Elly strides confidently toward the community room, Tracy’s favorite hangout.

When the two see each other, both faces light up with broad smiles. “Treats!” says Elly, running to greet Tracy.


Delight is abundance when Rochelle Melander (left) and her daughter, Elly, come to visit Tracy Walls.
“Thank you!” Tracy says.

I’ve brought several bags of warm doughnut holes, plenty to share with any of Tracy’s friends who might join us. We pull extra chairs around Tracy’s table, and Elly says our family’s table prayer—“Thank you, thank you, thank you, God, for our family, friends and food. Amen!” Smiles abound as we dig in.


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December issue

DECEMBER issue:

Advent: Waiting together

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