“Hey there, preacher man. Long time, no see.”
I took his outstretched hand.
“Yeah,” I said, “how’re you doing these days?”
“Glad to hear it. See you later.
My wife and I walked on into the grocery store, while the big man walked on to his car.”
“Who was that?” my wife asked.
“No idea,” I murmured.
I thought about it all afternoon. Usually, if I think hard enough, I can remember. But not this time.
“You sure you didn’t know that guy at all?” I asked my wife.
“You’re the one who knows everybody,” she said.
It’s finally catching up to me. I remember as a young man that my memory was sharp and fast. I could remember most of the people I met. But after three decades, several towns, and thousands of people, they’re all sort of slosh together in my mind. They look alike, sound alike, and when they say their names, they usually have names similar to others I’ve known.
I remember a young man approached me once and said, “Hi Pastor. Remember me?”
No, I didn’t.
“You performed our wedding.”
“That’s right!” I said, but really I still had no clue
“Remember the thing with the unity candle?”
Then I remembered. All the decorations looked so nice, but they forgot to put the unity candle in place and none of us noticed until the middle of the ceremony. I pulled a small candle from the rail and used it instead.
A few years later, he approached me again, this time in another town.
“Hi pastor. You remember me?”
No, I didn’t.
“You did our wedding. Remember the unity candle?”
“Right, right. How are you…?”
In my defense, I’d been sick for nearly a year and there are large portions of my memory that are gone from that period, but I wish I hadn’t forgotten him twice.
But geez, I always remind people who I am, especially if it has been a while. I tell them my name, where we met, and how long ago it was before they ever ask. Then they can say of course they remember me.
They’re all important. Each person’s name is precious, including mine.
I just don’t always remember them. Including mine.