People. Walking to and from the bus stops and riding the bus has reminded me of people. People seem real in a way they’ve never been before–not when I drove to work anyway. There’s something about freezing next to somebody while you wait for the light to change that gives you a sense of compassion. Being trapped in an enclosed automobile seems to quell this feeling, this understanding. Sitting next to total strangers, sitting around total strangers reminds me that we are all human.
It’s not that I’m connecting with anyone on a deep spiritual level–I’m not connecting with anyone period. I don’t like the fact that bus passengers have this cold acknowledgment of one another. We let you sit next to us, but we barely grumble a hello, if you’re lucky. And if a seat opens up, you better go take it. We wouldn’t want to sit next to each other if we didn’t have to.
But despite the distance, I still see these people. I see their faces, their skin, not the make and model of their car as it speeds by at 55 mph.
And aren’t people what’s really important? The rest is just clutter. Or it should be.
Of course I still don’t know how to connect with these people–or if I even should. Is it any better to see people as opposed to not seeing them if nothing comes of it? Or is seeing enough? I like to think it is.
There’s something about public transportation I really like. Every day I take the bus to and from work, and the trip involves a fair amount of walking. I like public transportation mainly because I don’t have to drive. Now don’t get me wrong, I like driving. I don’t like rush hour traffic. I don’t like speeding down the freeway with one eye on the clock because I know I’m late. I like sitting there and staring out the window. I like sitting there and reading a book. I like sitting there and writing. It’s great. I don’t have to do anything. I also like the fact that all sorts of people ride the bus. There are account executives, janitors, painters, secretaries, and even an assistant editor. There are people from all walks of life–often times people I wouldn’t ordinarily run into in my sheltered life. It kind of levels the playing field. It reminds me that I’m not so hot, in a way that passing and being passed on the freeway doesn’t. There’s something about sharing a seat with a big guy in a hefty winter jacket reading John Grisham’s The Brethren. I also think more people should do some walking on their way to work. It would probably slow the rise of the national obesity rate.
I have an office. This is quite the new concept for me. Abby and I decided to rent a two bedroom apartment because with her being a teacher and me being a writer we’d both have lots of computer-related crap. And we didn’t want all that stuff crowding our living room. Hence a two bedroom apartment and the second bedroom became our office. Of course Abby lets me call it my office.
For the first time in my life my computer isn’t in the same room as my bed. For the first time in my life everything I own isn’t crammed into one room. What a concept. It amazes me that I can afford all this. I keep waiting for the floor to crash in and the realization that my paycheck won’t go as far as I think it will. But let’s hope that doesn’t happen.
Another joy of married life is the ring. I’ve mentioned before that I’ve never worn a ring for extended periods of time, so right now it’s a bit of a novelty. If you’re not married I’d recommend not wearing any rings until you are. That way you’ll have this crazy novelty to remind you that you are married. If your ceremony goes anything like mine did, it’ll all feel like a dream, and you’ll need that ring of metal around your finger to remind you that it really happened. You’ll be washing dishes and it’ll clink on the new glasses from your Aunt Margaret and you’ll remember that now you’re married. You’ll strum your fingers on a countertop and hear a clink–you’re married. When that nervous feeling overcomes you and your fingers search for something to fiddle with, they’ll turn to your ring and start spinning–you’re married. That’s my new nervous habit.
Another cool thing about being married is filing cabinets. Big, metal, four-drawer, filing cabinets. The kind they store secret documents in that should have been shredded. The kind that make me look like a real writer–if only they were filled with rejected manuscripts.
The sole purpose of college is so you have friends to help you move. Today we bought two filing cabinets. The really big ones with four drawers. The kind no person should ever have to carry up three flights of stairs. Unless of course that person is one of your roommates from college. Seriously though, I don’t know how we would have moved without our college friends. The worst part is since we moved in our rate of stuff accumulation has skyrocketed and we now own four to five times as much stuff as we used to. We’ve decided we’re never moving again. When we have kids we’ll just rent the apartment across the hall.
One of the odd things I’ve noticed about married life is how incredibly bad your breath can smell in the morning. Of course I’ve always known about morning breath–I’ve seen the Scope commercials. But I had never actually experienced it and the fact never quite sunk in. But when you’re married and reaching for that good morning kiss, the morning breath becomes painfully obvious.
Another fun thing about being married is the inordinate amount of shopping you have to do. It probably doesn’t help that both of us lived in dorms before being married. We’ve spent the last three days shopping, and quite frankly, I never knew you could spend that much at Target. The worst part is we’re still not done. But thankfully someone invented the wedding gift–which most often comes in the form of cash. Which just so happens to be the biggest incentive for not eloping. And if you’re not concerned with outfitting your new home or apartment, by all means elope!
Paid to pray. Now there’s an interesting concept. At work my department takes prayer requests and prays before every staff meeting. During that time I’m technically being paid to pray. I suppose it makes sense, considering that I work for Billy Graham. But it still seems odd. It’s happened before when I worked as an intern, but I wasn’t being paid so the thought didn’t register. And it’s not that I don’t like being paid to pray. I work for an evangelistic ministry, it comes with the territory. If nobody’s praying you’ve got a problem. I just don’t like the thought that for those few minutes I’m on the clock. And yes, it would be tedious to punch out for ten minutes, so I just have to live with this odd little twist.
I suppose it’s just as odd to consider that I’m being paid to evangelize. My specific job title isn’t evangelism, but that’s what I’m working towards. I just edit the words the evangelists use. Seems kind of odd. In high school I was warned not to proselytize. Now I get paid for it.
And try measuring job performance in spiritual terms. How do you do that? And you kind of have to do that. If this method isn’t effective, it’s a waste of money. Let’s do something else. So you have to judge the spiritual effectiveness of what you’re doing.
The world of ministry work is an odd and kooky one.
The first day of work. I’m not quite sure how magical it’s supposed to be. It was work. Semi-typical first day, lots of stuff to read and forms to fill out. I think I’m going to enjoy the job. Lots of web work and hammering on articles, which I like to do, as frustrating as I find it. I got to hammer a few articles today–one by Billy Graham himself. I couldn’t bring myself to edit him too much. I even worked overtime on my first time on my first day. Let’s hope this isn’t a trend.
Welcome back to ReAL Thoughts. Sorry for the hiatus, but I’ve been a little busy. Consequently, there’s going to be a few changes around here. You are no longer reading the nightly ramblings of a single college guy. You are now reading the nightly ramblings of a married graduate guy. This is where I would transfer from the “college” group at your local church, to the “young married” or “early career” groups, which ever you prefer, depending on the offerings of your particular brand of the Christian faith.
Tomorrow I start my first day of a new job. Am I nervous? I should be. But I haven’t thought about it at all, so I’m not. When the alarm goes off tomorrow I’ll wake up and stop being oblivious. Which means I’ve still got eight hours of bliss.
I’m a college graduate. 3 1/2 years of college education and now I can join the real world. Of course it doesn’t feel like it. Due to the circumstances of the past three weeks I didn’t go through the graduation ceremony. I’ll do that in the spring. So it feels rather anticlimactic. But it’ll sink in. I’ve got a six month grace period before I have to pay loans back. Ah, six months of bliss.
I’m also married. That hasn’t sunk in either. Ever since the ceremony it’s felt like one long dream. I keep expecting to wake up and have it all be over. So far the coolest thing about being married is the ring. I’ve never worn a ring before. Except for that high school ring I wore for a few months sophomore year and then never wore again. But that doesn’t count. Since my wife (I’m still getting used to that phrase) put the ring on my finger I’ve forgotten it’s there; which sounds like a bad thing, but actually it’s not. It means I’m not self-conscious about the ring. Which I like. I keep checking with my pinky finger to make sure the ring is still there, and every time I see it I’m surprised. It’s kind of fun. Of course there are other perks to being married, but we’ll save those for another time.