Packing bags

I try to summon a spirit of tenderness to the task: praying for the woman who wanted toothpaste (I had none); wondering who will want the pet food – who still has room in a hungry life for a heartfelt relationship with a dependant dog. I pack soap, to smooth soiled skin. I try to slip a treat, an unnecessary piece of escapism, into each bag. I try to summon a spirit of tenderness to the task.

But the cold, heavy, metallic cans are unyielding and hard-hearted. They stamp regular patterns into the base of the bag; they leave their mark. They bear witness to an unromantic, untender truth: that hunger hurts. They make me mad.

I try to summon a spirit of tenderness to the task, but I will settle for a spirit of angry tenderness, of indignant love, if God will lend it to me.

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About Rosalind C Hughes

Rosalind C Hughes is a priest and author living near the shores of Lake Erie. After growing up in England and Wales, and living briefly in Singapore, she is now settled in Ohio. She serves an Episcopal church just outside Cleveland. Rosalind is the author of A Family Like Mine: Biblical Stories of Love, Loss, and Longing (Upper Room Books, 2020). She loves the lake, misses the ocean, and is finally coming to terms with snow.
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