No Longer Anonymous


I had a conversation with a coworker today.

“I got cold the other night, so I piled on another blanket,” he told me.

We were hanging out in his office, shooting the breeze while he filled me in on his project.

“But I got up in the morning and the house was cold.  I changed the batteries in the thermostat, and the furnace ran for oh, two or three minutes.  Then it quit.”

He looked at me.

“I was out of propane.”

We laughed at how things sneak up on us sometimes and I thought, I never had this conversation with friends when I lived in Portland. So many things are different up here in the Great Green North.

Like nobody ever said, “I need to get 7-8 cords of firewood stacked up if I want to stay warm over the winter.” Fireplaces were decorative items, pressed into use during a power outage as a real heat source. And no one used propane for heat, either.

I didn’t hear about floodwatches on a weekly basis.  I could blame it on my smartphone, something that didn’t exist back in 2006, but I don’t think technology updates dictate the weather.  Yet.

You can gather spontaneously here.  People have time for you, to spend getting to know each other.

You can walk to the store and back on non-busy streets. People even slow down for you in the crosswalks.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve almost gotten hit by a car in Portland.  Once I even got knocked down in a crosswalk by a rabid cyclist.

You run into folks you know at the grocery store, in the coffee shop, in line at the bank.  You, friend, are no longer anonymous.

I like it this way.

Remember the old TV show “Cheers”?  Whenever Norm entered the bar (cause Cheers was the name of the bar), everyone in the room would call out “Norm!”  Yeah.  I don’t think we ever get over our desire to be known, to be seen, to be appreciated.  Not necessarily to be fawned over, but to be recognized.  We need to be included.  We need to belong.

Sometimes, Fridays can be the loneliest days, with an entire weekend to look forward to and no one to share it with. You may feel nobody sees you.  You might believe nobody cares about you.  You’d be wrong.  God sees you.  He loves you.  He knows your name, and all your pain.  He hasn’t forgotten you.

You saw me before I was born.
    Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
    before a single day had passed. – Psalm 139:16


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