I don’t know what it is about riding the bus, but there is this mysterious allure to it that intrigues me. Even though it usually takes me twice as long to get to where I need, even though I spend more time waiting for the bus than it would it take me to get to my destination, even though I rarely know when my stop is and I end up pulling the “stop requested” line when no one, including myself needs or wants to get off, I really enjoy riding the bus.
When I lived in Mexico, with my not so good Spanish, I would embark on bus adventures, jumping on the first to roll up to the stop and hope to eventually make it to my destination. It was a great way to meet people as well as get to know the city. Bus systems are not called “community transit” for nothing.
Much to my delight, I now have opportunity to become a more frequent member of the bus transit community. I was quickly inducted into the bus scene by having to wait 30 minutes for a bus that took me a distance I could have walked in 10. When I boarded and sat down I looked up and saw these two guys and as I looked at their faces there was a trace of familiarity.
It was the time of day when my fellow passengers were on their way home from a hard day’s work, the hardship evident on their faces. Except these two guys. They were quietly talking and amusing one another as they took turns putting a smile on the others face.
Then I remembered. They were brothers. I had first met them some time ago on Broadway. I remembered the conversation we had that night, about struggles with God and Christianity in a fallen world of hypocrisy, self-righteousness, and ignoring the plank in one’s eye while rallying the world against the speck in the eye of another.
But by the time I remembered they had gotten off the bus and I was left with my prayers for them. For me the bulk of the work with the homeless has been one of remembrance and prayer. I can’t tell you how often after greeting someone on the street by their name I have heard “you remembered my name” said with incredulity. There is something powerful about being named and remembered when everything else in life says you are invisible, faceless, and not worth remembrance. There is something equally if not more powerful in our prayers for those on the street, which is ultimately a remembrance of God, His faithfulness, grace, and His remembrance of us.
So will you remember? Will you pray? Because you never know who you’ll see on the bus.