Spring Quarter begins tomorrow for me. I will be teaching, “Lamentations Ancient and Postmodern” for the first and possibly only time at the School of Theology & Ministry at Seattle University. Knowing how it is that academic quarters can run away with life, I have decided to offer this little post now, while I can.
God was there on the corner today, the corner of Madison and 12th. I had gone in for a planning meeting, — a wonderful meeting with people who work together well, and listen to each other — and then stayed in town so that I might go to the Tenebrae liturgy at St. James Cathedral. (It is the only Christian liturgy to make any use of the Book of Lamentations. I am not sure that any one who did not already know the book well, would have found it in all of that singing.)
Oh, well…on that corner in front of the “self-storage”. As I walked north looking for some kind of dinner before Tenebrae, a man, who is part of a couple — tourists — stops me to ask if there is some kind of 3-day bus pass so that they can get back and forth more easily from where they are staying and downtown.
I pull out my Orca card and try to explain that after more than 4o years of trying, we do finally have light rail, and even Orca cards, but not — unfortunately – that “normal” kind of tourist transit pass that every other civilized city I know of has!!!
They were from Eugene, where they too are also trying to get light rail.
So, although I could not lead them to what they needed, we had this wonderful conversation on the street.
And then, just as soon as they stepped toward an arriving bus, a homeless man carrying a lot of stuff told me about his back problem. I had a very small amount of change in one pocket. I handed it to him, saying…that’s all I can get to for now.
He was thrilled…”It’s a lot more than most people!”
So the fact that the whole world can see that I am harmless and might even help doesn’t deter me. There is something about all of that life on the street, in front of the huge self-storage building that is simply exhilarating.
So there I am, some place in the middle of a process for moving to Whidbey Island and knowing how very much I also love the city, and the people, and the homeless guys with back problems, and the tourists.
Some place in the middle, between the guy with back-problems, the people looking for transit passes, and the city dweller moving to an island, is the Holy One, at peace before the fray begins.