Since Quest is right on the bus route to downtown, I usually catch the #15 if I’m meeting a Quester for lunch near their workplace. Bus culture in Seattle is very clear-dont’ make eye contact, don’t talk to anyone you don’t know, and for heaven’s sake, don’t try to make friends. This is the bus, people and we’re all tolerating each other while we wear our headphones/look away/read our books, etc. In other words, not the most friendly or interactive time of the day.
I was riding downtown to meet someone last week, trying my best to be a good bus rider and stare out the windows or at the bus floor without making eye contact. Text messaging furiously, or checking email, the ride was uneventful. As we approached the downtown corridor, the woman sitting beside me asked “Can I talk to you for a minute?” Didn’t she know the rules? People don’t talk to each other on the bus! Not wanting to explain the bus rules, I acquiesced grudgingly. “Sure,” I said, putting aside my smartphone.
The woman proceeded to explain that she was caring for her boyfriend’s daughter, and had been for the past 12 years. She wanted to take the girl to get medical care, but coudn’t sign for her, and she was a high school student who couldn’t attend class until she had proof of vaccination. Her boyfriend worked double shifts at night, and so couldn’t take her himself. Did I know who she should talk to to get some sort of permission? She rode the bus into Seattle looking for some help and some answers. Turns out, I knew the answer, and pointed her to the courthouse and walked her through how to ask for paperwork to gain non-parental guardianship. As we talked about options, and where to go, she kept saying “something told me to talk to you. Something just told me.” As I exited at my stop, we were both encouraged to go about our days accomplishing our purposes.
Holy Spirit, help me to be open to breaking even the bus rules and listening to your voice. Thank you for your interruptions into my self-absorption, and for your redemption.