Here is a parable for Easter. The world is at war. The British Isles are cloaked in darkness. Into the midst of this black night a German pilot, his aircraft disabled by hostile fire, bails out to save his life. Perhaps he prays as he plummets to the ground into the heart of enemy territory. Perhaps, as he struggles to release his parachute, he has a flashback image of the girl he left behind and dares not hope to see again. Minutes later his parachute becomes entangled in a tree, and he lies unconscious on the ground.
Dawn breaks. A young woman passes by. She is lost in thought. Her lover has asked her to marry him. She longs to say yes. But who can afford to celebrate a wedding in these dark days? Where will they find the ingredients for a wedding cake? Whatever could she wear for a bridal gown? Warning voices tell her to wait until the war is over—but who knows when that might be, and she loves him and longs to be his bride now…for tomorrow may never come.
And then her reverie is brutally interrupted. She almost stumbles over the German airman lying in her path. Her heart knows what she must do. She covers him gently with her coat and places her jersey under his head. There is still a pulse. There is still life. She fetches help. The casualty will be cared for—at least in his immediate need. Beyond that, who knows?
The next day her path takes her back past the spot where she found him. The torn parachute is still there, caught in the branches. She gazes at it but now, in her mind’s eye, she no longer sees a parachute hanging there in the tree but the possibility of a silk wedding gown, a gift from God. For the next weeks she spends every spare moment with her needle, painstakingly transforming an abandoned parachute into a uniquely beautiful wedding gown.
From his bed in the military hospital, a lonely young German airman, recovering from disaster, sees the bridal couple pass by. His heart leaps with a sudden surge of hope. This time next year, perhaps, he will be with his own young bride once more. He little guesses that this English bride is wearing his parachute.
Story Courtesy of Margaret Silf