It’s making the rounds on social media but in case you haven’t seen it, the video is worth a look on YouTube. For when a Massachusetts nursing home closed its doors to all visitors, one octogenarian nonetheless found a way to see his wife of 61 years who lived on the third floor.
In some ways, it wasn’t all that surprising. For since his wife Marion moved into the nursing center a year ago, Nick Avtges had visited every single day, hardly leaving her side. When the coronavirus closed off that opportunity to him, thus, it was pretty obvious to all of the family that the 88 year-old was deeply missing his bride.
And so their son Chris came up with a novel idea, and after reaching out on Facebook, an old friend agreed to help. With the approval of the nursing home, the friend arranged for a bucket-lift truck which arrived last Wednesday afternoon. After scrubbing it down with disinfectant, they then strapped Nick—wearing a New England Patriots facemask and gloves– into the bucket and lifted him thirty feet into the air to hover just outside his wife’s room.
For the next twenty minutes, the couple visited through the screened window and to everyone watching below, it was obvious that Nick was in heaven, or at least the lower altitudes of it. Indeed, as he told a local reporter, “they could have lifted me ten stories and it would not have bothered me as long as I got to see her.”
I have a feeling that Jesus felt much the same way about you and me when He made that journey in reverse, coming down to earth and emptying Himself “of all but love” as Charles Wesley paraphrased Philippians 2, so that we might one day be raised with Him back to heaven. And no matter what else may be “up in the air” in our lives right now during this crazy season around the world, that’s a down-to-earth truth worth holding onto.
Just before finishing his visit and being lowered back down, Nick held up a sign which read, “I Love You, Sweetheart.” And Marion responded by saying, “I love you too, more than you know.”
I have a feeling Jesus might say the same to you and me.