Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Much to Learn on the Subway

On the opinion page of the Peace Weekly the columnist, a poet and college professor, tells us about his experience as a salary man for ten years before becoming a professor. He recalls the drudgery of taking the subway for seven and half years during rush hour. He was completely bushed; arriving home in the evening, he would have to rest.
During the summer months, this daily drudgery and pressure were all the more annoying. " I am getting off' one had to yell to get to the door. Getting off one train and getting on another that was even more crowded was the daily fare. His white shirt would be dripping with sweat;  the first thing he would do arriving at the office was to go to the lavatory to wash.  One day, a proposition became embedded in his head: a hundred years henceforth  none of those riding in the electric train would be with us, and decided to get rid of all his irritations. We are all going to die, why is he letting them be an obstacle to finding  peace? He was not going to be upset by his follow travelers.

For a few days, he was overcome with work and on his trip home, he had a nose bleed. Pushed and  being pushed his shirt became bloodied and also others unknowingly would have been splattered with the blood. There were those who that day seeing the blood on their clothes would have been completely perplexed.

Many are the times we cause harm to another unintentionally. We miss the opportunity to apologize, have regrets, and spend time reflecting on the way we are abused. Often we have been harassed and irritated, and fight back, a common occurrence on the electric train.Those riding with him are fellow countrymen, neighbors, the other. Persons I am related to in a small or big way numbers in the thousands.

Our Lord has told us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. We can't live this in our daily lives. Those with whom I am relating will die before or after me, and I should open my heart to them. We know that this world's goods do not satisfy us; there are other more important realities.

When in the subway, we know that no matter how hard we try we will look at certain people with a scowl on our faces. He has difficulty with those who noisily chew gum; ride the subway with their mountain-climbing  gear and speak in loud voices; lovers who are caressing each other seeming to want others to see them; loudly expressing  their political views are those who in the family are authoritarian. He would like those who preach in the subway to refrain from using hell as the main topic. Unbelievers are not going out to a church who makes them fear God. 

When we care for others in our given space, and we are polite we see the other differently. The writer does not drive so he uses buses and subways daily and sees, hears and feels much. The Chinese character for person is written: ren : person. The columnist wants us to see this as two people leaning on each other.

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