‘I had my regret and so I wrote…’

I remember it being cold and she was underdressed. That night I offered her my gloves but not my coat. I have since regretted that.

It was the Sabbath, Hegel writes, but Jesus paid no heed. He saw the hungry man and plucked an ear of corn, giving it to him.

I got reacquainted this morning with the sobering thought that it is not our grave injustices but our nightly missed kindnesses that turn us cold to each other.

I had my regret and so I wrote, “You want for human warmth.” And, later that day, she replied in kind, “I seek for soul warmth.”

I regret not having offered her my coat. I regret all the sole coats I have worn but never offered another who was in search of soul warmth.

(Of soul warmth. If not from me, then from whom? If not now, then when?)

This life is hard enough, but it becomes even harder as we, little by little, harden to each other. Our peccadilloes against our friends and beloveds accrue almost daily like dank autumn evenings until, some years on or seeming lifetimes after, they bear us down and we are borne unweeping and unfeeling, unsewing, unmending.

Nearing home, we put on our coats and feel nothing except the fibers rubbing. The regrets will come much later, on some Tuesday autumnal evening, reshaping us for feeling, reawakening us to the pain of living.

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