Tuesday, July 3, 2007

God in The Waiting Places


Why does the darlky-tanned hispanic man wait at the shelter of the rural spur line? The trains there are rare, yet I watch as he lets one go by. Is he the same man I glimpsed sleeping in the hot shelter a month ago? It makes no sense to sleep there, in sight of green, shady bowers.

If he has an appointment with someone, or something, why not come closer to the right time? Or perhaps his appointment is with something or someone more mercurial - and he cannot know when, or if it will arrive. Something mercurial, but still worth waiting for.

And who is the older woman in yellow waiting for? She stands in the shade of some green trees, on a sidewalk away from the commuter's shelter and the platform. A freight train rumbles through, I turn for a moment and she is gone. Did someone arrive and I missed seeing them? Did she give up? Is this just a happy pause on her morning walk... ...watching a train or two pass, or does she daydream that someone will arrive, someone she misses?

Who rides all the dozens of bikes that are chained up by the station? They are here when I arrive and there are less when I return, indicating an early schedule, but I never see their riders. Do they ride for pleasure, out of a sense of economy and environmentalism? Are these students off to school? I doubt it. I suspect they are fry-cooks and baker's assistants and day-laborers, and bicycles are what they can afford.

Some religeous pamphleteers arrive, young men in starched yellow shirts and striped ties, soft-covered black bibles and literature clutched in their right hands, bending gently in their grips. They make a vague attempt to reach the commuters at the station, but they are on the wrong side of the tracks, and a train arrives to foil their efforts, whooshing their prospective converts off in the direction of the big city, and leaving no one save me. They glance briefly at me, but the cost/benefit of saving my soul must not seem promising, and they climb back into their beat-up suburban, and motor off, its hole-y muffler resonating loudly.

I resolve to try to meet all these people in the future. This is a waiting place, it is true, and people don't think of their lives as happening here, in the waiting places, but they are wrong. God also waits for us at the way-points of our lives, and while we wait, our lives are going by, and God is showing us people and situations and wondering: "Who will go for us?" And "Whom shall we send?"

May we often meet and recognize God along the myriad paths of our lives, and moreover, enter into God's labors.


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