Riding on the Train

They say you don’t really meet people until you experience them on public transportation. I had the exhausting pleasure of seeing and meeting a few characters last week. Exhausting because it was an 18 hour trip. A pleasure because I enjoy watching people interact and imagining what makes them tick.

It never fails that I run into a woman who has at least two children and no idea how to split herself down the middle. I could tell after watching the older child, who looked to be maybe eight, do things mom should have been doing but was on her phone instead. The little one was toddling around with the sibling chasing her. There was no real discipline anywhere.

Then there was the lady I sat next to. She was a sweet older lady with grown children and grandkids. She was going to rescue her daughter and her child because the live-in boyfriend ran out on them. She was hoping to convince her daughter to move back to Florida so at least when history repeats itself, she won’t be 600 miles away.

There were several men and women who apparently ride that leg often because they talked like they knew each other. They updated the others on current events in their lives and spoke about previous trips together.

The people who have never ridden the train before stick out like a sore thumb. They ask lots of questions and don’t know how the seats work. Admittedly though, it did take me several trips to figure out the knee supports.

Then there is the crew. Some are very helpful and you can tell they love their job and interacting with the public. Others, not so much. They rarely smile, don’t offer to help and have an attitude about the customers.

The interesting ones are the ladies who hang out in the restroom at the stations. They pretty much take sink baths, do their hair, wash and dry some of their clothes and wander around never sitting still.

I try to imagine these people being at their jobs or homes or other places besides on the train and for some reason I can’t seem to do it. Outside of the train or station they seem dysfunctional to me. I’m sure they have normal lives like everyone else but I can’t seem to complete that picture.

Besides who can define normal. I wonder if my normal is anything like their normal. Do they wake up and make oatmeal for breakfast or do they even eat breakfast? And do they have a loving family to come home to after a hard days work? Or do they go home to an empty house?

I know that God has a plan for everyone and everyone in some form and at some time or another impacts that intricate plan that God has.

I had the pleasure of watching a black man who served in several wars humbly accept a hot cup of coffee from a nice woman who walked across the street from the train station to get him one because the coffee guy in the train station was not there that day. He was very gracious and shocked at her kindness. But he definitely enjoyed his hot cup of coffee.

Its times like that that makes me glad that God is at work among us. Because, I got to tell you, the bad guys look like they’re winning. I know He will have the last word but I see so much garbage on a daily basis, whether on the news or in person, that breaks my heart. I know it’s breaking God’s.