I’d known her for years, even though it was from a bit of a distance. She was a friend of the family and also one of my doctors when I was pregnant with all three of my kids. During my appointments she would ask me how the kids were, using their names and knowing the details. I always really liked her.
She moved away but came back to visit several years later. One Sunday morning at church, I saw her from a distance and eagerly went to say hello. She looked at me with a smile, polite and generic, and kindly asked me what my name was. I could feel the red rising as I quickly told her and found a reason to walk away. As it turns out, without my charts hanging outside the exam room, she didn’t even know me. I knew I should understand, I knew I should be sensitive to the fact that she knows a lot of people and she surely can’t remember us all.
But this felt different. I began to rehearse all the reasons why I was justified in my hurt. She knows our family. She was my doctor during life-changing, monumental times! Of course, they were only life-changing for me. To her, I was one of a steady stream of women with whom she interacted day after day. And so then I begin calling myself names like stupid and foolish for thinking she would remember me.
But grace whispers upside down things, things of heaven and holy and love. Grace means reminding her of my name even though I think she should know it. It is refraining from holding her hostage to my expectations. It is refusing to silently list all the reasons why she should remember me. It is welcoming her home again and being filled with compassion towards her. It is considering all the things she has on her mind, all the people clamoring for her attention, all the ways she is probably overwhelmed. And finally, grace nudges me to remain open and free towards people, even if it means I might get hurt.