Subway Vignettes

Take a ride on a bus or subway and you’ll encounter humanity in all its rawness. Some observations, like seeing self-complacent, middle-aged women roll their eyes in irritation at the handicapped person who needs special assistance to exit the bus, make you angry. Other sights, like hearing another story of homelessness without drugs for the fifth time, are disturbing. But sometimes you can get a glimpse of the beauty of humanity (and ultimately God).

It’s the children. They’re always turned around in their seats with their faces pressed against the windowpane. Probably not the most hygienic practice, but these children remind us that subway rides are not  as dreary as we might think. Two children, a brother and sister between the ages of 6 and 9, sat beside each other playing finger games. And that was all they cared about.

They made noise, but no one cared. They were having fun, they were overflowing with pure, liquid joy. Their mother or guardian didn’t seem to be much concerned about them as she stood near the door with her back towards them. But I sat beside them and I felt the siblings’ sweet energy wash the day’s worries away. Why can’t we return to that stage of bliss? When we can lose ourselves and be completely without a care?

If life demands greater responsibility of us, we as adults cannot forget what must be done. But in those moments on the train or bus, we are reminded of the joy we once had and can still keep alive in our memories.

Never lose the joy of living.


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