Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sunday in the City, with Me

Rather than ride down to church this morning on the train, I opted for the 5th avenue bus. When I have the time, this is an observational treat. Another change in routine was that I was listening to music while riding. My view had a soundtrack. How interesting to see what songs come up while looking at which corners, blocks, buildings. My favorite juxtaposition of the morning was a “Gloria” from Hildegaard of Bingen that came right as we were sailing through the mid-forties. Ordinarily, this is a stretch that saddens me somewhat… I find it a bit shallow, bleak, almost lurking, somehow-- as though people can “get lost” there and not find their way back again.

Then, I ran into Darth Vader and a Stormtrooper on the way home today. Both adult men, one over six feet tall, one less than four, both in full costume on the #6 train. They spoke to no one. Not even the grandfather aged man across from me who was devouring a magazine about Playstation, the videogame set. At another stop, two very drunk twenty-something guys got on with a case of beer. Judging by their yells and hooting about, they were either enroute to or just coming from a Giants game. Earlier in the mid-morning, I met a homeless man who was claiming to be a Franciscan who needed to get back to his brothers in New Jersey. He was making the rounds of people who had come early to sit in the big quiet of a church between liturgies. It was a challenge to me whether I left myself open to his approaching me as well or whether I close my eyes in prayer for him…the latter choice being both more beneficial than a lack of financial aid and an indicator that I was not at that time open to hearing his pitch. I opted for that one, though it did cause some serious thinking on my part about the stories I am willing to hear and those I am not…and where and when and why. That is for another day. Then, there was the woman who came looking for the group who was folding clothing. She asked one person where they were and he simply pointed. She looked at me and sighed. Clearly, she’d never been to this parish and did not know the twisting layout of stairs, halls, and rooms. I walked her to the room where she thought it was…which turned out not be the case at all…or perhaps it was, an hour ago… The woman was late.

I think now it is time for some tea in the kitchen of my familiar. I regularly reflect on the goodness and blessing of have a home to return to… In a way, it is like having friends hug you… by the utter feeling of the experience, there is the assurance that no matter where you go or what you encounter, no part of you has been lost and you are still there.

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