Thursday, February 5, 2015

One Commute, Two Young Women, and a Lesson

Thursday greetings from the tundra we call the Midwest. The view from my office. At least the sun is shining today.

Thanks to those who commented on yesterday's post either here, on Facebook, phone calls, or through email. I appreciate the continuing dialogue. Still muddling through all of this and now with airstrikes occurring, I pray for the innocent men, women, and children who are in harm's way.

After a long day thinking about the violence and what human beings are doing to one another, I began my trek home. I take the green line from the end (Harlem/Lake) and get off in the West Loop (Morgan). Here's a CTA map:

Once I reached my train, I boarded the final car on that train and went to sit in my usual spot. But there was a large man asleep in that area of the train car and he was snoring very loudly. A young woman and I were headed in that direction, but just turned around and went to the other end of the train car. As we were waiting for the train to leave the station, the man began to cough and choke. This young woman went immediately to him but it was obvious that he was unresponsive to her. He was breathing but just wasn't waking up. I admire her, because I felt a fear inside me that he would lash out, which is why I pressed the intercom to alert the train's operator, telling him that there was a very sick man in the last car. Every person on that train car expressed their concern for this poor guy. It took some time for the operator to arrive; he radioed for help. Within minutes we were all escorted off that train onto another one waiting on the other side of the platform. And just as we left the station, I saw the emergency vehicles pulling up to the station. I prayed for that guy.

Then, when I reached my station in Chicago, I got off the train and began to walk down the two flights of slushy stairs to get to the street. On the landing between the two flights of stairs was an elderly woman lugging a suitcase. Just as I started to ask her if she needed help, a young woman who was coming up the stairs behind her asked the same thing. The woman assured the two of us that everything was fine and that she could handle it; right away I could tell this was a feisty and independent lady and I admired her.

Two incidents during an evening commute. Two helpful young women reaching out to care for another human person. This on the same day that thousands of miles away two people were executed in retaliation for another killing. Perhaps the lesson for me in all of this is just to keep my eyes open even wider to notice the ways that people, in their fundamental graced goodness, help other people. And perhaps the greater lesson is for me to shake off my fear and step outside of my comfort zone and do the same thing.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.


Kathleen Basi said...

That's beautiful. A good reminder that we can really only impact our immediate circles.

Denise Morency Gannon said...

Way to go Jerry. And once you do, you'll never turn back. What's the name of that tune....goes something like "be not afraid..." ;-)