Grace: As learned from the Boston Me(T)ro

15 Nov

I’ve  lived in Boston for over three years now, which means I’ve been car-less for the same.  I’ve developed calloused feet, a city stare and a brisk walking pace to get me to where I need to be in the quickest, most efficient and direct way possible.  As independent and tough as I like to think I am, my life in this city could not be possible without the T.  You heard me, I need the T!  I love the T!  I mean sure… it’s got its issues, but $60/mo for unlimited riding – that’s less than one tank of gas in the SUV I drove in college.  I’ll take it! (If you don’t recall, I’m extremely cheap

Those of us that include the T in our daily lives however, know better than to believe that the T is a magical cart rushing us through a wonderland of fairies and rainbows… it’s smelly, loud, often off-schedule and completely unreliable.  Riding the green line between Park Street and Boylston offers the most cacophonous sound you’ve ever heard, the B line always smells like b.o., you never know if the puddle on the seat is a result of the leaky windows or somone’s bladder (I’m looking at YOU drunk homeless man!), and it never fails that the train you need to get on is always the last to come.  In all its faults, I feel like I’ve learned a lot about the Grace that God offers us through the T.  Think I’m crazy?  Please read on.

First and foremost, the T is what I like to call the ‘great equalizer’ – anyone can ride the T… you will see business men reading the WSJ on their iPads while sitting next to a hipster college student with piercings and tattoos balancing their array of musical instruments and textbooks, across from the old lady with her canvas grocery bag who is next to a schizophrenic man in a tattered Pats jacket (aka: my morning commute).  There are not of things in the world that would bring so many people to one place, and I love seeing the diversity of age, salary, race and personalities of the people that ride the T.  The beauty about Grace is – everyone is invited, everyone is allowed, and everyone can accept it.  God brings the most outrageous, unexpected groups of people together to further his kingdom – His love and grace is intended for everyone… even the obnoxious high schoolers that crowd the D-Line on my way home from work 😉  Even me.

A friend of mine always makes fun of me because as soon as I leave my house, I make every effort I can to get to my T stop as quickly as possible… generally this means I am jogging/looking ridiculous; I only do this because I want to know that I did everything in my power to make the T and I don’t want to wonder if I could have made more of an effort.  Grace is a gift that we can’t earn, but that does not excuse us from the responsibility and ownership that we need to take of what we do with it and how we respond to the Grace we receive.  “Shall we go on sinning that Grace may abound?  By no means!”  Which leads me to my next point… Grace is in fact a gift, a very humbling, undeserved, precious gift.

There’s a bit of a hill (more of an incline if you ask me) at the end of my street on my way to my T stop, and when I get to the top of it I have a good view of the tracks.  If I see the T pulling up or even idling at the stop, I run.  No – scratch that, I sprint.  The guys from Patey & Sons Plumbing get to watch this at least three times a week… I can only imagine what they say about me 🙂 There are days when a T coming from the other direction will box me out and my T will leave without me.  There are days when I make it to the stop and the driver ignores me and drives away.  There are days when I make it to the stop and the driver maintains eye-contact as they drive away.  And of course there are days where I make it in just the nick of time.  The one that gets me though is mornings like today when I just didn’t feel like running.  I’m tired, I’m worn out, I’m thinking of all the things I need to get done and gosh dangit I will STROLL!!  Today I breached the top of the hill and saw the T idling… I’d say I was about 50 yards away.  I was too tired to run, and frankly didn’t really care if I made it to the office 7 minutes earlier than I would if I caught the next T… so I strolled.  I was still a good 30 yards away and the T driver shut the doors… I felt confident in my decision to not waste the energy to run, and I continued at my stroll pace to take in a little more fresh air.  The T was still sitting there.  I had to make the decision… do I risk looking like an idiot and feeling like a complete failure to start sprinting now, or do I just want to continue to stroll.  Yup – I’ll stroll.  As I got close to the tracks, I realized the T driver had to shut down the T and he had just started it up again… still strolling, I crossed the tracks in front of the T and this is generally when you will hear the driver ding the bell and drive away without you – what did this guy do?? He opened the door and let me on.  There was no sprinting, no puppy dog eyes, no flailing of arms… there was absolutely nothing I did that warranted him opening the doors for me, and he did.  I feel like it’s the same with Grace – when you are the most undeserving, when you are the most down, when you just don’t feel like trying… Grace is given to you regardless of who you are and what you do.  It truly is a humbling feeling to know that nothing in your power is going to cause us to receive Grace or have it taken away; it’s a gift of love that is always available to us.  Wow… take that control freaks!! (Talking to myself here…)

Believe it or not, the T is in fact on a schedule (tell that to the B-Liners!) which causes huge issues when you actually try and follow said schedule… following a schedule?  Go figure.  How awful does it feel when you’ve been waiting for more than fifteen minutes for a T that’s supposed to show up every six minutes, and when it comes it expresses right past you?!  On the contrary, how incredible does it feel when you’re ON the T that expresses and you end up being earlier than expected?? I used to look up the schedule before I left my house/office and realized it’s utterly pointless because the T is its own beast and will show up when it damn well pleases because well… it’s the T!  In a much more perfectly complex way… God’s timing feels like this to me.  Sometimes things happen in a timeframe that is exactly what we’ve prayed for, exactly what we expect and exactly how we planned.  Great.  Let’s talk about MOST of the time how things just express past us, how they seemingly never show up, or how we have to completely adjust our original plans around because of it;  our lives are completely out of our hands and completely perfected by God’s Grace.  God’s timing is perfect, his Love is flawless and his Grace is beyond comprehension.  Having faith in The One who controls the universe might just allow room in our schedules and expectations to be in His timing and recognize that He is the all-knowing, all-powerful Creator whose hands created the universe.  Now do I feel the same way about the T in that regard… hahaha absolutely not… can’t they just get their schedule right??  How often do we (I) say that to God?

Finally, my favorite thing about the T: I don’t have to drive!  As much as I love driving (hence the thousands of thousands of miles put on mine and Beth’s car in college making for some AWESOME road trips… minus that one time…), I love the fact that I don’t have control.  I don’t have control of when the T shows up, I don’t have control of how fast or slow we go, I don’t have control of stoplights, or changing lanes, or getting cut off… I am at the mercy of the system and its driver… I get to sit and read a book, do Sudoku, attempt to fill in crossword puzzles, or just get lost in my thoughts for 20 minutes of my day 🙂  Can this be stressful? Of course.  I want the T to show up on time, I want the driver to go faster, I want the doors to open and close at my will — but it’s not going to happen.  When I felt like I could control these things… I found myself as an extremely bitter commuter.  When I accepted that things aren’t always going to go as I planned them… I found inner T-peace.  I’m sure you’ve already made the connection here… but let me drive my point home if you will (pun absolutely intended).  How great is it that the Creator of all things holds our lives in His hands and drives every living being??  How much peace can we experience when we open our hearts and minds to the Truth that He has a plan for the world and it is unfolding in His time??  How incredible is it that in His perfection He allowed us to make mistakes, give up, walk away, and yet He still offers his Grace and Mercy to us.  I am thankful we have a God that lets us fail and is always there with outstretched arms to receive us in His Grace.

Who would have ever thought the T would be a lesson in Grace?!  Now if the T is a reflection of grace, then I’d probably relate the bus to… hell?  Haha just kidding…  kind of… I’m still not completely sold on the bus idea.  I’ll work on it 😉

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7 Responses to “Grace: As learned from the Boston Me(T)ro”

  1. d.j. iverson (@djiverson) November 15, 2011 at 7:18 pm #

    I love this! and you! So proud of you my seester.

  2. Kyle Kimbrell November 15, 2011 at 8:08 pm #

    excellent cuz. excellent!

  3. Tony Thompson November 15, 2011 at 8:31 pm #

    Great job! I’ve seen several fb posts from dj about your blogging skills. I finally followed the link, much to my joy. I intentionally ignore this part of the computer age (being too old to enjoy it, for the most part), but I am certainly glad there are Godly people like you out there spreading a positive message of God’s love; and entertaining people. We’d love to see you again sometime. We were at the Cape two summers ago. Sorry we missed you.

  4. April Rhodes November 16, 2011 at 7:40 pm #

    Sarah, you are such a joy. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and creativity with us. God has certainly given you a gift with words and expression, thanks for using it to tell a great story about his grace.
    -April

  5. John Z January 17, 2012 at 12:27 pm #

    I’m just getting to this, but I LOVE this, Sarah…

  6. Robb April 11, 2012 at 3:35 pm #

    Sarah, thanks for the tears this afternoon. you have reminded me today of how beautiful God’s grace truly is for those who are broken. I am so blessed to be forgiven and saved by God. I know first hand how sin has impacted my life and the lives of people that I have hurt and the only thing that has truly brought me around is the Lords unending love, grace and forgiveness for me. Its the one thing that has allowed me to live each day with sadness, joy and all the things that the past digs up. An old youth minister just was served a great lesson! Thank you

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