I noticed two things today. Every single person carries, pushes, or pulls something -- a coffee travel mug, a briefcase, a backpack, a suitcase, a stroller, a box, a book, a child, a wheelchair. There is not a person who is free-handed. And it turns out, everyone has some kind of ailment. The lady in front of me has an Ace bandange around her elbow. The woman next to her has a black wrist splint on her right arm. Another woman has a foot that bends inward and she walks crooked as a result. A man up ahead limps. Another man cannot stop coughing. All these broken bodies. If these were computers or mobile devices, we would trade them in, demanding a free replacement.
Then there's all the internal ailments. The guy who sat next to me on the train bit his nails down to the quick as if he has not eaten in days. Anxiety. It pulled his eyebrows down, wrinkled his face, and quickened his breath. The father and son who ride together everyday sat apart today. There were people all around who carried hurt with them along with their briefcases, bags, and books. There were hearts broken this past weekend and deep, lasting pain that resulted. There were parents walking to work who haven't seen their kids in years because of something that started small, or something that was really big. There were Sunday nights that ended in marital fighting and turned backs. There were regrets for things said and done. There were heavy hearts for things unsaid and un-done. There were those who were so happy this morning that Sunday night ended so that at least for a few short hours, the loneliness will abate. And there are those who are headed for a day in which their deepest insecurities will be exposed, their longest-held fears realized, or their hardest choices made.
These people I saw today are the ones that bump into me on the street, who cut me off in traffic, who go too slow in the left lane, who walk too absentmindedly, who don't go fast enough when the light turns green, and who haven't decided what to order by the time it's their turn in line. These people I saw today are you and they are me. They need grace. They need love.
"So if you're serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don't shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that's where the action is. See things from his perspective. . . . chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It's your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it." (Col. 3:1-3; 12-14)