12 January 2011

91: The First Day and Shared Suffering

It is 38 degrees. It is misting. I am smiling.


Well, I am clearly out of my mind. So insanity is a nice excuse.

I am riding a bicycle in nasty weather so I can voluntarily ride a bus. This is stupid by most standards, especially as I consider the nice car in my driveway and it's highly effective heater.

I am insane. Might as well enjoy it.

So I arrive at the bus stop and dismount the bike. And wait.

And wait.

And wait.

Thirty-one minutes later, the #91 bus approaches. I can't feel my fingers or toes and my smile is long gone. I am simply cold and wet and a bit confused why I am doing this.

I board the packed bus and stand between a homeless man and a medical worker, both obviously a little bit impinged by my hovering presence. Sorry.

After a few stops, a transfer station, a few more stops, and a few on-loadings and off-loadings of special needs folks who require assistance getting onto the bus (and getting strapped in), we arrive at my stop.

I jump out excitedly (finally!!) and grab my bicycle off the front of the bus. My cold, soaking wet, bicycle.


I plop onto the dripping seat, grab the frigid handlebars and head down the street to the church.

Arriving at my destination is interesting. I feel relief, victory, and defeat all at once. I am relieved to be where I need to be, victorious in my conquering the first day's outward commute, and defeated in recognizing just how poorly it had gone from an efficiency and effectiveness standpoint.

Still, I change clothes in my office and smile at the conversations I was able to have in my 31 rain-soaked minutes at the bus stop. Shared suffering is a great bonding agent. Thankful for those opportunities, I work until it is time to go home. And in an exact carbon copy of the cold, wet morning, I trudge home.

And that was the first day. I finished the day a little older and a little wiser. I finished with sore hamstrings, a hot shower, a few memories, and a new appreciation for shared suffering.

Those people do it every day. I should thank them for sharing sufferings with me.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome... Hope that your new role as the bus pastor blesses you as much as those you're riding with. The words you give to these folks can transform their day and may even brighten the office/restaurant/jobsite where they get off. That's the power of contagious faith!