I catch an early morning bus to work from Arlington VA into D.C. each weekday. Generally, I see the same faces riding every morning, each of us zombies of the morning rituals and habits that funnel us to the same vehicle, at the same time, day after day. We read papers, chit-chat with other riders, take quick naps, or pretend to take quick naps so as not to have to chit-chat with other riders. Primarily the same people, same seats, every day.
One morning, however, in the seat usually occupied by a woman who finds it necessary to read her weekly novel out loud, sat a newcomer. He sat in an aisle seat, the window seat filled with his backpack, a jacket, and what appeared to be one shoe. He leaned forward as much as he could without hitting the seat ahead of him, head in his hands. He would occasionally sit up to look out of the window, glance at the other riders, or stare straight ahead. He talked to himself a little bit, but I could never understand much more than a word or two now and then. He did not appear to be having a good day so far, at that early hour. At most I could hear an occasional sigh, a “Good Lord”, or a curse word now and then.
But towards the end of our commute as we neared the final stop, the man sat bolt upright and loudly and clearly said “Lord, give me Patience today, because if you give me Strength I’m just going to rob that liquor store on the corner of 14th and P.
Now that was an honest, praying man.
Stuart M. Perkins