Each of us carries within a personal calendar: this day is important because I met so-and-so, because I did such-and-such, because something or other happened. Despite the proliferation of social media and the ease of sharing online, these personal calendars tend to be very private. Earlier this week a friend asked me to pray for his mother on 29 October and I said I’d have no difficulty remembering because today is also the anniversary of my own mother’s death. He was immediately contrite, as though he should have known, but why should he? He was empathizing with me from the way he would feel had the situation been reversed. That was generous. It was also kind, literally, expressing kinship with me.
Clock time and emotional time do not always coincide, nor do we always know why someone who is usually bright and bouncy is a little sad or subdued. Sometimes we need to ask; sometimes we don’t. The one thing that is never out of place is kindness and a prayer.