I ride the bus because my neighbors, and folks that worship in the pews at 10:30am on Sunday morning or at 7pm on Sunday evening also ride the bus. So I have a chance to see folks during the week instead of only on Sunday.
I ride the bus because it saves on pollution and helps me get more walking done.
I ride the bus to remember my privileged status -- I get to take a car to the grocery store -- I don't have to haul my groceries on the bus. I have a washer and dryer inside my home and it works so laundry mats are not a necessity for me. This week a couple of interactions around bus stops or on the bus really struck me... here goes.
I was waiting for the bus. Someone I knew came and sat down and we chatted a little. Then someone in scrubs came and sat down (they were clearly on their way to work). My friend asked the childcare worker a question and they exchanged a few sentences. Then I asked my friend about her family. One of her family members is ill. On and on struggling with a painful condition. The healthcare worker was listening with compassion. The healthcare worker spent at least two minutes explaining exactly what my friend's relative needed to do -- it included an operation. The healthcare worker used the words, "life-threatening condition."
When the helpful healthcare worker finished talking my friend was near tears. We all fell silent. At that point I said to the healthcare worker, we don't always have access to the health insurance or adequate healthcare. At that point the healthcare worker said something like, "don't get me started, I know the system is really broken."
All the technical information offered by the healthcare worker was accurate. And, I am quite certain that the information, if offered to someone who was fully insured and had access to things like - a way to transport an ill person to health care on something other than public transportation - would have been helpful. The healthcare worker's admission that the system is broken was oddly encouraging. Because it was an admission that we are not necessarily doing anything wrong -- we aren't stupid or bad but the system doesn't work for everyone (at least it doesn't right now).
In that moment we were just three people sitting together waiting for the bus. In the brokenness the technical expertise was not as important as the three of us sitting there realizing that as individuals we can't fix everything. But we become more whole when we sit with one another acknowledging that there is a problem. Not excusing it away or pointing figures and accusing people of creating their own oppressive condition. Just sitting together and realizing that we still have work to do