Category Archives: Life

10 People You See Everyday on Public Transport

A huge portion of the world utilizes public transport as their primary mode of transportation. After spending a few months doing just that, I have decided that there are 10 People you will see everyday, without fail, when utilizing public transport. Let me know if you’ve seen them, too.

Here we go:

1. The Prideful Regular

He knows the system inside and out – and he wants you to know he knows. He makes sure he pushes the stop button before the mechanism can even announce the next stop. See, everyone, I have the route memorized and I know my stop is next. He exits the vehicle with speed, confidence and a bit of flair. He makes sure not to even glance in the direction of the signs and rolls his eyes at those who do.

2. The Calculating Regular

He goes beyond knowing which subway line he needs and knows which seat (or standing place) near which door on which car of the subway in which to ride in order to exit said subway car the absolutely closest possible to his next destination – either the gangway to his connection or the exit above ground. If the car of his choosing is too full, he is not above waiting for the next train to come along.

10 People You See Everyday on Public Transport3. The Map Studier

This guy checks the stop map after every stop. He counts, and re-counts, how many stops he has until he disembarks. He finger traces the map at least once for good measure. If there is more than one map posted in the train, he will study them all to make sure they are the same. Despite the appearance, he is most likely a regular user of the public transport system.

4. The Just-In-Timer

“Mind the gap.” “Steigen Sie nicht mehr ein.” “Please do not board.” The warning beep sounds and the doors begin to close. Cue this guy. He runs with the speed of a cheetah and just makes it through the doors milliseconds before they close – very often causing collateral damage (toppled children, spilled coffee, etc) in the process. There are two types of Just-In-Timers. The first, is the Melodramatic Just-In-Timer. He makes overly dramatic gestures of relief – releasing a big sigh, wiping fake-sweat from his brow, grabbing his knees and puffing – and chuckles happily at anyone who makes eye contact. It would seem he is pleasantly surprised at his success, but the precision with which he timed his sprint from the escalator ten yards away gives you the feeling most of his public transport entrances go similarly to this one. Perhaps he has a bit of the Calculating Regular in him. The second type is the Non-Chalant Just-In-Timer. He acts as though he wasn’t just nearly decapitated by thirty pound doors slamming shut and takes his place stoically in the crowd of passengers.

5. The Just-Misseder

Although closely related to number 4, our friend here is of the slightly less lucky variety. He gives it the good ole college try but arrives only in time to have the doors quite literally slam in his face. Here you see three types of folks. You have the Laid-Back Just-Misseder. This fellow laughs it off, shakes his head and perhaps even gives a plucky shoulder shrug to the onlookers who did make it into the train as they pull away. Then you have the Angry Just-Misseder. He slaps the closed doors, yells some sort of angry yawp – often with profanity. Angry gestures at the passengers inside ensue, as though they shared some blame in him missing out. Then comes the outburst towards the ever-”inconsiderate” driver/conductor – all to no avail. Finally we see the Just-Kidding Just-Misseder. This unfortunate friend also runs full speed towards closing doors only to find them closed up tight upon arrival. However rather than laughing it off  or getting angry, he just pretends he wasn’t in fact trying to board. It is the public transport version of patting your pockets as though you’ve forgotten something when you realize you’re walking in the wrong direction. All three types are left with the agonizing 2 minute wait for the next train or bus with only their question of What did I do wrong? to keep them company.

6. The Tourist Family

What did they just say? I think we’re on the wrong train! No, I told you this is the right one. We want the red line, right? No, I said we didn’t want the red line. Wait, what did that announcement just say? Is this the last stop? What? We have to get off? Wait, I’m confused….

This poor family just wants to see the Opera House. Or Big Ben. Or the Colosseum. But somewhere their public transport compass has gotten skewed. They battling jet lag, language barriers, culture shock and at any moment you just know they are going to completely lose their minds. This family often comes with exaggerated hand gestures, overly slowed speech, and if American a general volume increase of roughly 30 decibels.

7. The Sleeper

This dude has either spent the night out partying, pulled an all-nighter study binge or is coming off an Energy Drink high. Whatever the cause, he’s sacked out. Everyone else in the train is placing bets on when he will wake up, and if it will be the right stop. You actually get bonus-points if you get to see them wake-up…most times your own stop comes up before you get to see the conclusion to his story.

8. The Kids Fighting Over the Button

Never mind that these kids actually live here and take public transport every.single.day., multiple times a day. They are still going to fight over who gets to push the Stop button. Every. Single. Time. You also can find these creatures in the elevator. The Prideful Regular takes great joy in swooping in to push the button just as the child who has won said fight reaches his grubby little finger out to do it.

9. The Jungle Gym-ers (AKA The Parents Who Are Too Tired to Mind Their Kids)

You’ve seen them. These are the kids doing amateur Parkour in the train car, swinging from handle to handle like monkey bar rings, and spinning around the handle pole like it was a playground apparatus. The parents can often be seen slumped in a corner seat, hair matted, dirt smudged on their faces just trying to maintain composure until they reach their destination. Very often these families start out as number 6 but but the end of the week transform into this.

10. The Loud Music Guy

It doesn’t matter if he’s listening to Marilyn Manson, Pearl Jam, ABBA or Mozart this guy loves his music – and wants you to love it, too. Even though he’s wearing headphones, you can hear this dude’s tunes from the other end of the train car/bus. Often times he is completely stoic, not even a head bob or foot tap. However every now and then, the rhythm gets him and he forgets that others can hear him and he serenades the whole car. Its a treat for the whole family, I tell ya.

So there you have it, the 10 People You Meet Everyday on Public Transport. Have you met these guys? Who else do you see everyday on the bus, subway or street tram? Oh, and by the way, if you’re any sort of regular public transport user, you – like me – have been every single one of these people.

Gather the Fragments {Notes for the Broken}

We live in a broken world.

Broken marriages. Broken homes. Broken hearts. Broken dreams. Broken…

Whether you’ve just lost your job, lost a loved one or are dealing with the aftermath of a broken childhood, there are times when we all just feel…broken. Sometimes we don’t just feel broken; sometimes we are broken.

Be it from the day in, day out wear down on our bodies, minds and energy or the sudden, harsh stress of a traumatic event, the small, subtle cracks suddenly burst open and we find ourselves scattered and shattered all over the floor.

Have you ever been there? Or perhaps I should ask, when was the last time you were there?

I recently read a tweet from Lisa Jo Baker that really stuck with me:

 

 

The next day I read the following verse:

“And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, ‘Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.’” John 6:12 ESV

Gather the Fragments: Notes for the BrokenThis verse comes right after Jesus had fed a multitude of people on the side of a mountain. Jesus took the five loaves of bread and two fish a little boy had offered him and multiplied it and used it to feed 5,000 people.

I had heard and read this story literally hundreds of times yet this time, something really stuck out to me: that nothing may be lost. Another translation says, “let nothing be wasted.”

What on earth did the disciples do with those twelves basketfuls of leftovers they collected?

Did they take it to the local village and spread the wealth? Did they send a basket home with twelve family groups? Did they send them to the local homeless shelter? The Bible doesn’t say. All the Scriptures promise us is that these broken fragments – the ones nobody else wanted; the ones nobody else needed; the leftovers; the crumbswould.not.be.wasted.

I have been going through a season in which I am dry, weary, exhausted and…well, broken. To be totally honest, I had not been very grateful for the broken bread of my heart, as Lisa Jo so beautifully put it. I have been wallowing in fatigue and self-pity feeling quite justified in my low state.

It felt like all the pieces of me that had been broken off – either to serve others, or from the sheer beating taken by the storms of life – were being utterly wasted. Blown away in the gale-force winds of the world.

That nothing may be lost…

Why would God make sure to include this small detail of the account to be included in Scripture if He wasn’t going to tell us how He was going to use them? I am no Bible scholar, but perhaps it is in there for days like this when I read His word and words of wisdom from a Godly woman who seeks after His heart to remind me that through the hard times of life, when walking through the Valley of the Shadow of Doubt, when broken and run down and not-sure-this-is-what-I-signed-up-for that when I commit my ways and days to Him, nothing is wasted.

Perhaps He is gathering all these broken, leftover fragments together with a great plan to sustain the heart of another when we are whole again? Maybe He is saving up these un-wanted bits to work a miracle of which we could not even begin to fathom.

Friend, are you broken today? Are you tired, rundown, weary

Let me encourage you to bring your brokenness to the One who made you, and knows every part of you better than you do. When it seems that the world has eaten their fill of your heart and left the rest to dry and blow away like chaff in the wind, let Him gather the leftover fragments so that nothing will be wasted. We may not understand His plans for the broken bits, but we can trust His heart is pure, His love is strong and He has our very best interests in His heart, and His hands – so that nothing may be lost.

 

In A Courtyard of Stone

We enter the empty courtyard on a brisk Sunday morning. The sky, a cloudless azure, is a stark and beautiful backdrop to the towering stone spires and turrets hovering above.

We are stopped in our tracks by the beauty. The stature. The solitude. The silence.

We stood there for an eternity – though really only a moment or two – and took it all in. A lone bench stood sentry between two bare trees. The monastery sandwiched between some classical architecture of which I do not know the name; I only appreciate the beauty.
These buildings, standing longer than my mind can engulf, represent my new home. Beauty. Strength. A deep and rich history – one of which I have barely begun to scratch the surface.
I stand before these structures and all I can do is stare. In awe. My balance waivers at the weight of the emotional and historical atmosphere. Or is that just the cobblestones beneath my feet? Or is it the jet lag? Or brain fog?
Everything is the same color. The same taupe-ish white covers the walls, the spires, the cobbles below. It is stunning. It is imposing.
It is the perfect mirror for the culture surrounding me. So beautiful and intricate and delicate and strong it all looks the same. At first glance. Yet the more I look, the more I learn, the more details emerge. The distinctions that once made it all look exactly the same are now the things that set one thing so distinctly apart from another.
My internal wandering and monologue is interrupted when something catches my eye.
A balloon, as orange as the day is long, bops and swoops on the breeze around the floor of the plaza. It makes no noise. No squealing child chases after it. It dances and sways this way and that. Its bright color and chaotic activity stand in stark contrast to the quiet and stoic setting.
I feel like that balloon.
Standing out, sticking out, no matter how much I try to blend. I just want to fit in; blend in. To know all those unwritten rules everyone else just follows without even knowing it.
Even in those moments in which I exhibit the perfect behavior, my very appearance gives me away. I’m simply an orange balloon in a courtyard of white stone.
And yet, there is something I enjoy about the chaotic blowing of the cultural breeze…of being swept about and dancing around the social cues and unwritten nuances of a city alive with a thousand nations, countless languages, running on the heels of a millennium of history.
One day, and I probably won’t even notice it happen, I will cease to be the orange balloon and will have emerged from my cultural cocoon some creature closer to what is native to this land. I won’t have to think about every step, every word, every road, every turn. Life will just be life, with it’s routines and friends and jobs and laughs.
I hope, though, not to lose some of the sheer awe and delight found in these early days in a new place. I am treasuring the newness; the discovery; the excitement. I will never experience these particular firsts again.
So, while I look forward to the day when I seem to belong in this courtyard, I know it is ok to be a little bit orange for awhile.

As the Deer

as the deer

The Prayer of a Tired Mama

The house is still dark now, Lord. The quiet…oh, the blessed quiet. The only sounds as I whisper this prayer to You in my heart are that of the ticking Cuckoo clock in the hall, and the deep, steady breathing of the ones I love most slumbering deep in their beds.

I’m torn, though, Lord. Torn between getting up, sneaking downstairs and stealing a few minutes alone with You. Alone with my thoughts. Alone with my coffee.

Torn between the paradise of sitting at Your feet, and the paradise of sleeping soundly in these covers for five.more.minutes.

Because that’s about all the time I have, Lord. Before little bodies stir, bleary eyes open, and the chaos and crazy of a new day ensues.

The Prayer of a Tired MamaHelp me, Lord.

Help me when those sleepy, shuffley feet patter to my side and ask me to “actually make” breakfast, not just open it. Help me to smile at the gift of this day. Of these kids. The gift of the chance to start the day right – with a smile and something yummy to eat.

Help me as I struggle to wake up fully to these round-faced cherubs…because it appears I chose the five minutes of extra sleep over getting up before them so I could get my own morning grumpies out first.

Help me as I pour milk, usher cereal to bowl, wipe up milk. Help me to see it as a blessing to my kids; not the bane of my morning to actually have to function when all I really want to do is sit on the couch and stare into nothing until the coffee pot is full.

Let my words speak life. Joy. Love. Peace. Kindness.

Let my actions be full of Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness. Self-control.

I’m afraid to pray for patience today, Lord. Because the last time I did, You sure gave me opportunities to practice it!

But here goes…help me be patient when they ask for the umpteenth time if they can watch kid shows. Or paint. Or have a snack even though they didn’t finish their lunch because they swore they couldn’t eat another bite or they would pop.

Help me relish it when the little man in my life, with the still-dimpled hands and grown-up hair cut asks me to read that one book. Again. And then again.

Help me ask their forgiveness when I heave the heavy sigh because I just sat down and the call came again: Mooooooommmmm!!!!

Better yet, help that heavy sigh leave on the next train outta here and never come back.

Let me see the everyday miracles You inject into this house. This family. Our lives.

Give me strength when the splinters just go a little too deep; when the cut is too big; when the hurt too immense and I can’t fix it.

Muster in me, somehow, by some miracle of Your sheer strength the energy to run with them when they squeal and stop halfway down the hall, “Chase me, mama!!”

Lord, they want dinner again. Again! If I have to plan one more night’s food I may just scream. Or cry. Or both.

I’m going to get out of bed now, Lord. You know I’m already dreaming about when I can climb back in – though who knows if I’ll get to stay in it all night this time.

There is no way on this green earth I can make it through this day; this all-consumming fatigue without Your help. So come now, Lord. Let’s get this day started.

Because its only just beginning and I’m already oh-so-tired.

But I’m so thankful, God, to get to walk through these days with this crazy crew and laugh, cry, snuggle, discipline, repeat.

Here they come now, Lord.

Let’s do this.

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