Commuting to Jesus

11 Nov

As a Midwesterner newly relocated in the bustling city of New York, I am continually overwhelmed and mystified by the ignored beauty and diversity of this city’s community and culture. The people appear to pass by these hidden beauties: the street musicians, artists and the vendors with no awareness or recognition. This phenomenon is increasingly apparent within the basement of the city, the subway.

Every morning I submerge myself into the sea of people that occupies the subway platforms, self-contained, practicing the daily dance we call “commute.” I sit sandwiched between the teenager with rap running through his earphones entertaining not only himself but the whole car, the man from Wall Street reading the New York Times on his iPad and the mother juggling three children sporting uniforms. I find myself falling into the habitual practice of commuting, shutting myself out from the world and its interactions. I have one goal on my mind, transporting myself 200 blocks.

In my commute I begin to lose the Midwestern zeal I had once had for this city’s diversity while florescent lights, packed cars and rhythmic stops, lull me. My awareness of the outside world is slowly fading. But with the assistance of strong morning cups of coffee and a determination to acutely observe it all I come to.

  When I moved to New York, I promised myself I would never become passive towards the daily beauties this city offers but as every New Yorker will tell you, this splendor that was once so enamoring will begin to become standard. In my attempt to rebut this stereotype I become astounded at the daily observations I encounter among strangers

  Along the 200 block journey I watch intently as the teenager gives his seat up for an elderly woman, the man from Wall Street continually picks up the child’s toy seated next to him and the mother finds solace in an open seat that was cleared by fellow subway occupants.

Why do these fleeting recognitions between strangers bring a sense of comfort? I came to realize that these small beauties are encounters with Christ. To surrender yourself to the mundane, to lose yourself in the dance of the commute can result in a loss of awareness of Christ. In the recognition of others, in our chosen awareness of our neighbor, the street musician or the overworked taxi driver, we are acknowledging the presence of the Divine and the beauty of His creations. We are observing our faith in life.

-Colleen Pesci

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One Response to “Commuting to Jesus”

  1. JTM November 20, 2011 at 4:03 pm #

    Yup, it still sounds like Bonaventure.

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