Beating a retreat

Saturday, daybreak.

It is a rare day on which I wake up alone, with no plan except to write, and read, and dream.

I am still dreaming at daybreak (of cabinets in the church basement, and their mysterious removal) when my Fitbit buzzes my wrist to alert me to a phone call. I do not recognize the number, I tell the cat, who is also disturbed by the sound and wants to join in awakening me.

Less than thirty seconds later, it buzzes again (the Fitbit, not the cat). Someone wants to talk to me: now.

By the time I reach the kitchen and my phone, noticing on the way, as he had intended, the gift my cat has left me in the hallway, I have missed a third call. Someone must be dying.

No one is dying.

I feel unkind. After establishing who was calling,  I ask, “Is this an emergency?” We have had these off-peak conversations before.

We talk for a while, reach a tentative agreement to speak again on the regular church phone, during more regular hours.

On the way downstairs, anticipating a pastoral imperative, I prayed for strength, patience, kindness.  I am left instead with dissatisfaction, disappointment at my unkind thoughts, at the rude awakening, the breaking of the day.

I channel my devotion into the disposal of the dead mouse, a sacrificial offering delivered by an uncomplicated disciple.

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 , and Whom Shall I Fear? Urgent Questions for Christians in an Age of Violence, both from Upper Room Books. She loves the lake, misses the ocean, and is finally coming to terms with snow.
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