Thursday, 6 June 2013

On the Buses, or Ministry in Transit: an Exploration



First day of looking at my work from another angle, namely, in transit, or, on the buses. Medictine Hat Transit. Bought a pass and everything. Impressions.

I have to confess I felt uncomfortable waiting for a bus! I was tempted to walk up and down as if I were going somewhere so people didn't know I was taking the bus. How's that for snobbishness? I got stared at by the drivers of the passing cars. They're not used to seeing someone in a collar waiting on the side of the road.

Once aboard the number 50 it felt better. It was quieter and more comfortable than the last bus I rode regularly; the Calgary Transit number 20 from Huntington Hills to Mount Royal College (as it was then) back in 1986. I even did the Nineteenth Annotation of the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius on that bus, but that's another story.

And then one of our regular visitors to the church got on. He pops in to use the phone to organize odd jobs and to have a coffee.

"What are you doing taking the bus," he asked. "Car being fixed?"

I explained what I think I'm doing but I don't think it registered.

Suddenly a young man with Down Syndrome across the aisle started banging the back his head against a thick perspex partition behind his seat. Hard. The driver yelled, "Hey!"

After about six good loud whacks the young man stopped, seeming no worse for wear other looking a little dazed.

And then it was time to get off.

An Anglican Church Women Holy Communion and lunch, a graveside memorial service and reception, a hospital visit, and a half hour wait later (haven't got the schedule sussed yet), and I was aboard the number 21 to take me back to the church.

I suspect this is going to slow me down. In a good way. I enjoy just sitting for a bit on my way hither and yon.

As soon as I was seated, a woman offered a cheery hello. I asked how she was doing and she told me she was homeless, tired, thirsty and did I have a spare toony? I told her I'd given the last one in my pocket away this morning. Maybe I have to carry some with me.

The bus kneeled for a slow moving woman to alight. Well, actually, it sank to the right. A kind of transit prayer. I like that.