Saturday, February 27, 2010

seeing michael

Michael is this black guy I've know for most of the 20 years I've been Rector of St. John's. He is an intelligent, witty, interesting man. I've never figured out quite how he is only a step or two from the streets. For years I went to the Y to walk the treadmill and take a steam bath and he was often there--lifting more weight than my car could push. He became very upper-body developed and looked like some kind of athlete. He always wears a black silk do-rag and is a good looking man.

He's never volunteered anything about his past, and I've never inquired. Just an agreement we met on early in our relationship. But he knows the Bible well--probably better than me with all my education--and, unlike most self-taught Bible scholars, he had a liberal vent to his interpretation.

I saw him on the street today, walking somewhere, dressed totally in black--do-rag and all, carrying a gym bag. I noticed his upper body has shrunk and wondered why but did not ask.

"Did you bring me a stone from Ireland?" is what he said to me.

Though I don't remember, I must have told him I was going to Ireland and he must have asked me for a stone, for whatever reason.

We have lots of stones in the church because the 'symbols' of Lent have started to pile up. I almost went in and got him one--how would he know, wouldn't it be 'from Ireland' if I said so?

But then I was reminded that our talks had deserved better than a 'false stone'.

I told him I'd remember this time--when I go in June. He said he'd come by the office to pick it us. God knows why he wants it, but it oddly makes sense to me--something about holy ground and stuff like that, which I imagine he is concerned with.

So, I hope I remember and don't disappoint him again. I realized I'd be retired by the time I go to Ireland--or at least not coming to St. John's but living on them during my final sabbatical.

But I'll find him a stone and bring it across the Atlantic and mail it to the church for him, if he remembers.

It's more likely that he'll remember than that I will. I hope we both do.

A piece of the Emerald Isle is something Michael should have and something I'd be honored to bring him.

How wondrous this place has been to me--to have God grant me the privilege to know Wanderers on the Earth like Michael.....

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About Me

some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.