This bit from this book caused an acute sob to rise from within me:
"We traveled to Boston to see a specialist, at the time the only person in North America who was doing research on my particular disease, and he terrified us by speculating - irresponsibly, it now seems to me - that my symptoms suggested that he cancer might already have caused amyloidosis in my heart: a death sentence.
That was the cloud I was walking under early one bright winter morning, maybe a week after the exchange of emails with the preacher, when I heard my name. I turned around to see him half running down the street toward me as he tried to pull a flannel shirt on over his T-shirt, careful not to trip over his untied shoes. I was in no mood to chat, especially not to an enthusiastic preacher, and all my thoughts were hostile. But I stopped, we had a kind of introduction as he tied his shoes, and then he asked if he could walk me to the train station. Those days are a blur to me, but I remember two things from that morning very clearly. I remember Matt straining to find some language that would be true to his own faith and calling and at the same time adequate to the tragedy and faithlessness - the tragedy of faithlessness - that he perceived in me. And I remember when we parted there was an awkward moment when the severity of my situation and our unfamiliarity with each other left us with no words, and in a gesture that I'm sure was completely unconscious, he placed his hand over his heart for just a second as a flicker of empathetic anguish crossed his face. It sliced right through me. It cut through the cloud I was living in and let the plain day pour its balm upon me. It was, I am sure, one of those moments when we enact and reflect a mercy and mystery that are greater than we are, when the void of God and the love of God, incomprehensible pain and the peace that passeth understanding, come together in a simple human act. We stood for a minute in the aftermath, not talking, and then went our suddenly less separate ways."