The Hammer

Years ago, I had the occasion to ride home from work on the DC Metro. I usually went by car, but for whatever reason, that day I had to find alternate transportation. It was never my favorite way to travel, but it’s a nice change once in a while.

As I sat in a mostly empty train car, I detected a newspaper lying under the seat in front of me. I picked it up and noticed it was a Washington Post. I never subscribe to a newspaper, so I thought this would be a good occasion to check out what the local pundits were saying. My eyes fell on a syndicated columnist by the name of Charles Krauthammer.

At the time, I wasn’t familiar with his work. So, I took the time to peruse his writing. I was immediately enamored with the way he crafted his article. It was not only well written, but the logic, thought process, and his way of laying everything out was astonishing. I became an immediate fan. Shortly after that, I found out he was often on TV as well.

“I began to seek him out.”

Upon discovering this bit of information, I began to seek him out. It turned out, to my pleasant surprise, that he was even better in person. His insight and lucidity seemed to be head and shoulders above many of his colleagues. To top it off, he had a tremendous wit and a dry sense of humor that was right up my alley. I was, now, more than a fan. I was a devotee.

Over the years, I watched him every chance I got. He is one of those guys who could convince me the sky is chartreuse. His opinions, however, are much more down-to-earth than that, and his well thought out conclusions are inescapable.

What I hadn’t noticed at first was that he always sat in a wheelchair. He was usually behind a desk, so that fact had escaped me. I discovered that he was injured in a diving accident when he was in medical school which paralyzed him from the neck down. The fact that he was paralyzed surprised me, but the fact that he was a doctor surprised me even more. I just assumed he was simply a political pundit.

“He made a shocking announcement.”

Recently, he had been absent from his normal TV appearances. When he was scheduled to begin his return from an illness, he made a shocking announcement. The doctors estimated he only had weeks to live. I was devastated. I choked up when I heard the news—an emotion I almost never have for most celebrities of any sort (for whatever reason).

In his announcement, he wrote, “It was a wonderful life—full and complete with the great loves and great endeavors that make it worth living. I am sad to leave, but I leave with the knowledge that I lived the life that I intended.”

May we all live in such a way that we can honestly say those words in the end.

[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and currently resides in Aldie, VA.]

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