Thursday after Ash Wednesday: Train

The two post-crash carless days that made up the majority of my Bay Area sojourn meant that I spent time—lots of time—on public transportation. It takes well over an hour to get from Oakland to the San Francisco campus of the UCSF hospital, and since I hadn’t really planned for passenger-hood by bringing extra reading material, I used the travel time to pray. I prayed for my dad, I prayed for the other dads and sons and mothers and daughters at the hospital. I prayed for the neighborhoods the BART and Muni trains whined their way through. I prayed for the passengers on the train ahead of me when it stopped while police boarded and to remove someone brandishing a gun. I prayed for a world where it would be a lot harder to threaten people with weapons in public spaces. I prayed for those whose insular existence—people like me, most of the time—shield us from the threat of violence and solidarity with those who live under its daily threat.

I have a responsibility to make my contribution to the human endeavor as faithfully as I can. But sometimes what I don’t do, like overlooking the complex urban environment I inhabit because I am speeding through it, is as important as what I do. The hard and beautiful truth is that—not only do I not drive the BART train—I don’t actually drive much of anything. Instead, the unasked-for discipline of passenger-hood reminded me to return to the #LentINGo that is prayer, leaning into the bigger and more trustworthy reality that is God’s plan. This slow train is, after all, bound for glory.

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