I feel like that happens to me a lot. I’m so used to seeing people in a church context that when I get out to the school pick up line, restaurant, or just around town, it takes a minute, more than a minute to recognize them. And the reverse is true. People are used to seeing me at church in a collar. Don’t recognize me at first at the soccer field, out in Ambler. It can be awkward, embarrassing, funny.
Same Faces, Different Places
I was thinking about this recently and then just the other day I had two experiences of it.
On Thursday morning I went for a run at Mondauk Park, which has a one-mile trail loop that goes around it. So, I’m out running going in one direction. In the other direction is someone that sort of looks like Kim Forst, whose daughter, Cecelia, we baptized last month. And this person that looks like Kim is jogging with a stroller. But I’m not convinced its her. Never seen her at the Park before. Anyway, as we run around the trail, we must have passed each other 10 times, and I couldn’t be sure it was her, so I didn’t say anything. But later that day I emailed her and said, “Did I see you and Cecilia at Mondauk Park today. I thought it was you but wasn’t sure. I was the runner in the day-glo yellow shirt.” She emailed back, “Oh my goodness, I thought maybe that was you. But wasn’t sure!” We had a good laugh.
Later that night I went to the Ambler YMCA to go swimming. It’s around 9:30pm. I’m just focused on getting a lane and getting some laps in before closing when I hear someone say, “Pastor Keith Anderson!” I looked up and the lifeguard was Will……. I hadn’t recognized him. I hadn’t even really “seen” him. He was in a different setting, “just the lifeguard”, part of the scenery in the pool deck, and I didn’t even really see him until he said my name.
Seeing someone you know in a different time and place—in a different way—makes it hard to recognize them.