It’s amazing the things that one notices when paying attention. I’ve been coming to this particular part of the universe most weeks for the past year or so. And is my nature, I usually sit in the exact same place. Some would call that boring. Some would call that predictable. I call it calculated. Whatever. It’s just who I am. Anyway, this morning, as I sat at my corner table, I realized something very profound. I face the corner, but just to the left of my table is a window. There is also one just to my right, next to me in fact. Looking straight ahead, my view is divided by the corner into two distinctly different worlds. I’ll refer to the one on my left as “coming” and the one to my right as “going”.
In the world of “coming”, off to my left, there are streams of people and their various means of transportation slowing to approach the intersection. They have decisions to make as well as signals to give. Some are approaching with caution and some are testing the laws of physics and braking distances, but all have a directional choice to make as they approach the intersection of “coming” and “going”. Some will give electrically generated signals. Some will give hand signals. I’ve even witnessed individuals extending hand gestures, although I think that these are more of an indication where they feel other travelers should go. It’s nice that they are willing to be so helpful though. Some give no signals. I’ve come to believe that these individuals either have no thought as to where they are going, or else they could care less if others know which way they are about to choose. Some wait for the green. Some go right on red. Still others are obviously color blind and treat red as green and green as red.
In the world of “going” life is much different. There are fewer decisions to be made. Actually the only one that these people appear to be making is how far through these floor boards can I push this pedal? Many of these folks just got off of the ferry so I imagine that possibly they haven’t gotten their land legs quite yet. At least their driving seems to indicate that. There are some in the world of “going” who are not in cars. Even these people seem to walk with a bit more purpose than the “coming” pedestrian types. They’ve made up their minds. They have turned the corner and are striding towards their destination. Either that or they’ve spied the bus stop and the obvious signs of their bus beginning to pull away from the curb.
One benefit of sitting in my seat is that I can also see people making the transition from “coming” to “going”. Change in lives takes place right before my eyes. Same cars, same lives, but new worlds. Decisions have been made, goals have been set, and journeys taken in new directions. It’s amazing what one can observe when paying attention to the surroundings that we are placed in.
I love that about the pastoral arts profession that I have chosen, the changed lives I mean. I love being able to be around to see the life altering decisions that are made. People can change directions and choose to follow or not to follow certain paths and then when the direction is chosen, there can be a refreshing deliberateness in their journey. Some will decide to choose the road less traveled. Some are going to choose to lead instead of follow. It’s the undecided ones that are a mystery.
You know some of those. Some of you are some of those. They are the ones who sit still at green lights, when it is obvious that one can proceed. They are the ones who sit at red lights, waiting to turn right with no approaching traffic, and yet still don’t take advantage of the legal right to proceed. You know them. You have been behind them. You may have tried to gently encourage them on their way. You may have even included gestures to inspire their directional choice. These are the ones who make my life interesting. With them all bets are off. All I can offer from an outsiders point of view is prayer for guidance. They may care if they knew that I’m praying for them, they may not. I just consider it an honor to be at their intersection in the same moment.