I wrote this over a week ago but thought I might share it tonight. It may be meaningless to others, but it was an eye opening moment for me.
Tonight, through a series of unfortunate events, I find myself waiting for a 6AM Greyhound bus out of Dallas.
I flew from Portland to Dallas to catch the final leg of my flight. It should have just been a quick up and down, probably no more than an hour and a half. But it didn’t happen. Instead I was told that my flight had been canceled (my second in five days), and I could wait up to two days on standby. Alternatively, I could make my own arrangements. So I looked into renting car or taking a bus. Even with the taxi fare, the bus came out quite a lot cheaper.
I’m not particularly comfortable sleeping in airports. I now know that I’m even less comfortable sleeping in bus stations. So I decided to grab a bit to eat at 2:00 in the morning. I walked across the way to a 24 hour McDonalds, and found that only a half dozen tables were actually open to patrons, and those were all taken. Looked like I’d be hauling my food back to the station.
But then I struck up a conversation with an Italian architect. He regaled me with stories about his childhood, his travels around the world, and the wonders of North Dakota. He showed me pictures of his wife, his sister, his other sister, his current project and his many cousins. And his cars. And his dog. I told him about my family, the trials I’d experienced in airports recently, and my kids.
Also sitting at our table was a born Californian drifter (self described). He told us about living on the streets, and his love/hate relationship with marijuana. He was excited to hear that one could now buy a ticket from Dallas to Houston for $14 (something we had in common tonight).
As we sat there talking, I let the oddness of the moment sink in. I marveled at the twists and turns that each of our lives had ended up taking to land us at this table. The paths that we had walked down were exclusively our own but for a moment they converged in a place that was not our home. We shared some experiences in the hour that we sat around the table. We watched as a homeless man, unhappy with the amount of salt on the fries he had been gifted, confronted the evening security. We talked about the Spurs and the Blazers. We drank our orange juice, coffee, and diet coke. And in the early hours of the morning, we had fellowship. In a city that was not home to any of us, at an hour when we all would have rather been sleeping, we found comfort in being part of a collective. Our table was a community.
Maybe it’s the fact that I’m writing this at about 4 in the morning, but I feel like tonight gave me some insight into the intricate web of our lives. We move from place to place, flutter about our activities, and often fail to recognize that every moment we share with another person is an absolutely singular experience. It won’t, it can’t ever happen again. Our lives criss-cross and interweave, sometimes just dancing past one another, and other times colliding head on.
It should give us all pause. We should consider each moment as both our best and last opportunity to share The Gospel.