Libby and I walked into the Brown Line station by her school yesterday afternoon and, probably much like you, found a large crowd of people who were stranded. Among them were tourists feeling lost in the enormity of this city, children trying to figure their way home alone after school, and angry white collar professionals yelling at Chicago Transit Authority employees about being late for this or that. A fire in one building, a choice of one person, and the mistake of another ground everything to a halt. How, in a city of this size, can something this happen?
In a culture that says we can be anything we want – and that our individual needs are always most important – this is a hard reality to face. But I choose to see something beautiful in it.
For the better part of yesterday, the whole north side of Chicago was inconvenienced with the truth that humanity was not created for isolation. Coming to the surface, we saw how many we are. And we also saw how fragile what we have made really is. Ultimately, what we have made is a handsomely crafted facade – an ambitious attempt at perfection, but a facade nonetheless. A fire in one building, the choice of one person, and the mistake of another brings it all crashing down. They leave us exposed. They leave us vulnerable. They leave us remembering how, in a world of solitary cars, shiny, and sanitary stainless steel trains, life is deep, distorted and often dirty.
And, as a Christian, this makes me remember that I need redemption, that I cannot be whole by myself, and that we have a long way to go before the reign of God becomes all we can see. We are not yet saved, but we are being saved. I am thankful for the hot and unexpected walk home which gave me a chance to remember that.
Peace and Love,