24/7: 7am – Glorified Commute

Posted: January 25, 2012 by clairer in Uncategorized

You see all different types on the metro – the white-collared and blue-collared workers, the grandparents and the students, newspaper readers and kindle users, veteran commuters and “newbie” tourists. People come from different backgrounds and are headed toward different destinations…many with their iPods in and their phones out – engaged in their own little world. But yesterday, one man wasn’t…

Early in the morning, as I found a seat in the already-packed metro, I sat across the aisle from an older, heavy-set woman. She didn’t look destitute, but she certainly didn’t seem terribly “high-class.” She kept on talking to the lady behind her (whom she obviously didn’t personally know) about how she had fallen near the escalators and how worried she was about a scrape. Maybe it’s just a pet-peeve of mine, but personally, I tend to have little patience with random people on the metro talking to me – especially about their personal lives. Honestly, I felt worse for the woman having to listen than the woman who had supposedly fallen.

When we arrived at our first stop, a middle-aged military officer in full camouflage boarded and joined the “listening” woman in her seat. I felt bad for him…wondering if he knew what he had gotten himself into. Sure enough, right after he sat down, the woman started telling him how she had fallen and how she was worried she wouldn’t make it to work. I expected him to ignore her or at the very least gently subdue her and put her off. However, to my surprise, the man responded, not with annoyance, but with genuine sympathy and respect toward the woman. He listened to her, addresser her as “ma’am,” and to my complete surprise, promised to make sure she got to work. Sure enough, fifteen minutes later, the man got off at the woman’s stop (which was clearly not his own), took her by the arm, and, presumably, guided her to her place of work.

I found this brief encounter to be so convicting. In the city, I am surrounded by a culture of self-advancement and self-absorption that is so easy to be sucked into. When I’m on the metro, I watch people scramble for seats instead of deferring to the person next to them. They put in their earbuds and seem to forget about the world around them. On the escalators and on the street, people quickly walk to their offices without giving a second thought or glance to the homeless people or even to the other businessmen and women they are passing by. And yet, for just one morning, a man put aside what was easy and convenient for himself. He went out of his way to love his neighbor and to count someone else as more significant than himself.

Ever since I started my internship, I’ve been thinking about 24/7 – about how I could be glorifying God throughout my day, and even at 7am on my daily commute. This man gave me my answer: by being considerate of others and by not falling prey to the self-absorption around me. On some days, that might mean giving up my seat. On others, it might mean letting someone else board the crowded car before I do. On some other days, it might simply mean smiling and greeting someone, or being a listening ear…even if I’m tired and bored. As Christians, we are not called to be self-absorbed commuters. We are called to be different – to lay down our lives for our neighbors. And that starts with even the smallest areas of life…like riding the metro.

24/7: Learning to Glorify God All Day, Every Day (Series Introduction)
24/7: 6am — Wait in Expectation (24/7 Part I)

  1. JoRo says:

    All kinds of great opportunities in daily life to glorify God, if we just keep our eyes open. 🙂

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