Week 1 - catching the bus at 6:45am -- still dark. Waiting at the bus stop when I hear a woman say, "whose that white woman at the bus stop?" I turn around and see a woman and her child walking toward the bus stop. The child sees me and says, "Oh it's just Pastor Tina." Then I hear the mother say, "see, even Pastor Tina rides the bus." I quietly smile.
Week 2 -- riding home on the bus a person I know pretty well gets on at one of the neighborhood stops -- he's very big and heavily tatooed. I see him and smile. Then panic -- maybe he doesn't want all his friends knowing he knows the white lady. I don't panic long and he sits next to me and we have a great conversation and we exit the bus together at which point he says, "Pastor I feel like you are a sheep I'm leaving among the wolves." When I ask what the heck that means he says something about it being a rough neighborhood. (Dude -- this is my neighborhood.) I just smile and say something about being fine as I walk home.
Week 3 --I get to the bus stop and the driver is not in the bus -- this often happens at this particular stop the driver is usually a little ahead of the schedule and jumps off to do some quick thing. So I talk to the other guy at the bus stop. He's, "a Gospel singer but not a Christian because I refuse to be labeled." (He appears to be sober - I've got some experience in this area.) We are just chatting. When the bus driver returns he gives me a talking to -- I need to be careful in this neighborhood, here's what I need to do when I run into these folks, stuff like that. When I get to my stop (after being on the bus for about 30 minutes) the bus driver calls me back up to the front of the bus to quiz me and make sure that I remember the instructions because he says I seem like a nice person and he wants me to make sure I'm safe.
So today I'm going to celebrate that there is community and that we are concerned about one another. And I'm also going to figure out how to get more white women to be riding the bus in my neighborhood so I don't stick out like