Feeling the pull, the strong tug, from all around me, I went for a walk along the beach. As I scrolled through the list in my mind, the gentle waves of incoming tides, the music of a natural rhythm, the mid-winter crispness… and the comfort of peering through a viewfinder in search of a composition. These healed. Still though, the list…
… the list remained. And it was a weight.
On my way home, I decided to do that one errand I had been putting off all weekend. As I walked through the parking lot, an older couple in my path approached. The woman simply said: “I like your hat.” It was the one I had purchased in Edinburgh a few years ago on a trip with Joey. In less than a second, I had to choose. One answer was “thank you”, the other was “thank you, I got it in Scotland…”
Choosing the second opened the door to a chance encounter.
“I’m Scottish”, she replied. “I have been there many times and I love it.”
I described my own trip there and the couple in my path became more to me than just that. We talked. Joked. Shared. The man, quiet at first, opened up when I told him that I was interested in photography. He introduced himself as “Joe… a retired photographer.” That, of course, extended the conversation.
Still though, it was all superficial. Ancestry. Travel. Photography. All surface stuff.
As the conversation began to transition to a parting, Joe reached out to shake my hand. He said: “I enjoyed meeting you. Thank you for the conversation. I’d like you to have this.” A silver chromed coin passed from his clutched hand to mine. It read:
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and fortune.” — Jeremiah 29:11
It was just a chance encounter with strangers, connected by a red tartan hat from the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, Scotland. A choice to linger, to encounter. I can still see their smiles, sense their interest. And feel the grasp of my hand by Joe’s and the placement of a sliver coin into mine.
The list remains but like the cascading waves on the shore, I sense the comfort of presence, of assurance.
In a parking lot in front of CVS.