I should get out more

“Don’t you remember me?”

I needed a few things from the store for my afternoon session, and the day was long and bright, so I walked. In my collar, I notice people respond to me passing them by, for better or for worse. I smile, pass the time of day. Then someone stopped me short:

“Don’t you remember me?”

I took a second look. “I’m sorry,” I told them. “I know you look familiar, but you’ll have to remind me.”

“I stopped you in the supermarket parking lot …”

That was nearly a year ago. The weather was colder, the days shorter. There was a little rain in the air. A parishioner of mine was drawing circles on the striped lot with his bicycle, keeping an eye on our exchange until I sent him away, assuring him that all was well, that it was my habit and vocation to talk to strangers in the street. I remembered.

“How do I look to you now?” they asked me. That one was easy. “Well,” I said, “very well.”

“You saved my life,” they told me, “stopping to talk with me that day.”

I knew that they meant it kindly. I know that it’s dangerous flattery, that it taps into my temptation to hold the world together. I knew, too well, that it wasn’t true. I remembered that day. I had done nothing but stop, and pray.

But the Spirit of God, brooding from before creation, has a habit of hatching something out of nothing: like the absence of the right words on a cold day that renders each breath visible, writing on the air; like the blank space I wear around my neck, between my blood and the world.

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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