I left my building hearing my sons saying goodbye through the window. One does this daily because my sister hoists him to the window so he can wave. He’s adding sounds, some of which I can actually make out. He’s saying what I’m sure is “See you later” at this point. The other, older boy is home for the week doing nothing but play after spending the summer leaving in the mornings with me.

When I walked to the gate, I saw one of our known political servants who stays in the neighborhood. We greeted each other, reacquainted for the twelfth time, and started walking in the same direction. I was going to my car. She was heading to her daughter’s to walk her dogs. She herself is a dogs person, and me and Bryce have seen her a lot with her own dogs. I knew my car was near her daughter’s building and I said that so she wouldn’t think I was following her.

We walked together. I’m sure she thought she’d get around the block without being noticed. Or, at least, without being attached to another person. I thought the same thing. I like that block walk in the morning, when I don’t have to say anything meaningful, capture a summary of something someone’s said. Everyone needs space to be quiet. It’s freeing to walk alone sometimes.

And then, there are those moments like this morning where you think you’ll walk by yourself and the unexpected happens. Someone comes along and make the short journey with you.

I asked her how she had been holding up lately. She mentioned some things. She pointed out my badge, asked if I was a doctor, which made me smile. People can make worse assumptions.

I told her I was a chaplain. And that’s how the day continued.

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