Now I live in a pretty village but take the train every morning, past abandoned shopping centers and rusty train yards, to get to one world class city with all the wealth and poverty of all cities. The president often mentions that he’s from The South Side which is grittier and messier than The North Side, I suppose to have solidarity with the poorer side of town.
Neat and Tidy is a good way to live and many of us spend an enormous amount of money and energy trying to get there. But life is not at all neat and tidy and – if we claim to be followers of Jesus – there is a call to notice, and maybe even seek, places and people who have been abandoned and forsaken.
So much easier to live in a gated community with manicured gardens.
I’m trying to Pray the Commute these days. Yes, there are bleary-eyed human beings aboard the train who need spiritual attention, but looking outside the train offers a wealth of prayer possibilities. The abandoned store. The school bus. The sad streets. Once the store served local shoppers. It’s fun to imagine who they were and pray for them. The buses are full of kids who’ve been sent to new schools this fall. Men sit on street corners looking like they don’t really have a place to go. Makes for a rich prayer life and it’s transformative. Instead of looking away from unscenic vistas, I stare and wonder. Or at least I try. This is not a post about how well I do this.
How does the world change unless we stare at unscenic vistas?
Image of a train yard seen on Metra Electric in South Chicago.