Sunday, February 23, 2014

What if God were On the Bus?

I always loved how Joan Osborne's lyrics captured the essence of it being possible that anyone could be anything, and what if God were just a "slob like one of us" ...just a "stranger on the bus...". I got that reminder today. I realized I'd misplaced my metro card and was frantically searching my pockets for the fare just as the bus pulled up.  Then in my frenzy a receipt I needed went flying into a puddle, and I plucked it out gingerly, flapping it dry.

Shaking my head at my own disorganization I heard a woman ask if I needed a tissue to dry off the receipt. I looked up and it was a shabby but warmly dressed woman, who was missing most of her teeth. Probably in her 60s, but could have been younger based on what seemed to have been a hard-lived life. I thanked her and declined then shared how stupid I felt about losing my metro card.  Without a second of hesitation she asked if I needed money for the fare.

A whole range of thoughts raced through my head -- from "oh gosh, I hope she didn't think I was looking for money," to "she doesn't look like she even HAS any money - let alone any she could spare?" to "what an incredible gesture." Clearly to all appearances I was the one who should be offering her help, but this stranger from the bus thought nothing of helping another stranger even if it put her that much more behind on rent, or food. I was humbled, and honored. I assured her that I would be okay, after she asked at least twice more if I was sure I'd be okay.

I thanked her and said I wished more people were like her. She just asked, "Well, that's just the way we should all treat each, isn't it?"

Simply, yes. It is.
And a stranger from the bus reminded me of that.