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The other day, I reminded my brother, Nick, of the time we met one of his first friends in Marion as they stood in our house nineteen years ago. NINETEEN. I told him what his friend was wearing and why I thought they’d never actually become friends after that.

One day, while walking across our college campus, my friend received a phone call from her mom. There was some back and forth and Grace relayed her social security number for some random paperwork her mother was filling out. Two days later, I texted that number to Grace just to freak her out a little.

It wasn’t abnormal for my best friend to text and ask when her dating anniversary was because she knew I was her walking diary. She didn’t have to remember because I remembered for her.

I can’t brag about much, but my friends say I have a phenomenal memory.

So when I forget something, I’d tell you it’s nothing short of purposeful.

A few weeks ago, I was filling a box order for someone I have never met. To my knowledge, she has never been in our shop and only came across our site by mistake. Our west Michigan shop must have reminded her of her old life here because she ordered the Smitten box, the one filled with all things Michigan. I grabbed an illustration off the table. It was a watercolor print of Michigan and had lovely tones of blues and greens, colors I always associate with God’s country. A Bible verse popped in my head. And I repeated it over and over as I continued to pack the box.. Now, I should humbly admit that I could probably recite more Eminem lyrics than Bible verses. My parents are beyond proud of this.

I had this fleeting thought to sign this verse at the bottom of the card. And then considerate Ashley kicked in. I spent my entire childhood and working life being “respectful” of other people by not forcing my own beliefs onto them. Everyone knew I was a pastor’s daughter growing up and now I’m a pastor’s wife. But I always get along well with people who think differently than me because I share my faith with my actions more than my words, and I’ve been pretty proud of that. So when this moment presented itself, it was an automatic no. Why would I ever write a Bible verse to a stranger? To someone who could easily be offended . I could be the weirdo she talks about at dinner parties or, worse, I could push her further away from knowing the beauty of the Church. As I wrote a brief note encouraging her to stay well during quarantine, I felt a bigger urge to sign the card with that verse. I mean – I knew the reference and the verse, word for word. I don’t think I could recite either so clearly the day before.

No, I’m not doing that.

I didn’t.

I sealed the envelope and closed the lid on the box.

And as soon as I did, I forgot the verse. It was gone. Instantly. To this day, I cannot tell you what that verse is or where to find it in the Bible.

I can’t really say why this happened, but I do believe I was supposed to sign that card. I regret not being the weirdo. I’m sure that girl has the same normal life today that she did a month ago, and maybe my verse of encouragement wouldn’t have made a dent – or maybe it would.

I’ll never know because I don’t get the luxury of remembering something I didn’t want to be a part of.

….My friends say I have a phenomenal memory…

Ashley Cooper

I strive to find joy in each ordinary day.

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