Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Sanity Amidst the Screaming

Shortly after my victory over unemployment, I discovered that I did not win the battle over being poor and without a car (yet). As a result, I have to take the train into my lab every day. The train ride is ... spirited to put it charitably. There are many enthusiastic individuals who love to raise their voices and emit all sorts of boisterous proclamations and turns of phrase to the delight of all. Amidst the cacophony of the modern world, I have found a slight bit of sanity in saying my rosary walking to the train and riding on the train. Its such an awkward place to be, the train. I always thought the fields were lonely places to work, but in the city, you are surrounded by millions of people and hardly ever utter a word. Where else can you be so close to humans and so far from humanity than packed on a the B.O. soaked gypsy boxcar known as the St. Louis Metrolink?

As I was boarding the train yesterday I randomly sat next to a man for the morning ride. After a while I noticed the man make the sign of the cross as he had clearly finished saying his rosary. I thought it uplifting, like seeing a comrade on the field and noticing that you are both carrying the same powerful sword that proved essential to legions of your ancestors.

Today, I sat next to the same man. After he finished his prayers and made the sign of the cross, I noticed he had a rosary in his hand that he carefully placed away in a rosary pouch. I took my rosary out of my pocket and showed it to him saying, "I thought that's what you were doing yesterday." Sort of a, "hey, check it out, we both roll in the same way son" as some other train riders may say. He chuckled and went back to looking out the window.

He didn't say anything for a while after that and I thought I may have freaked him out a bit. After 15 minutes or so he turned and introduced himself. "Sorry, I have a lot of other prayers to say after my rosary. I would've said something sooner." We chatted for a little while on where are good places to go to daily mass, where we both worked, etc. Then we parted ways.

It reminded me of the one passage from Lord of the Rings where Gimli laments he does not have his kinsmen present during one of the major battles. Another character reminds him that he need not worry, because where ever his kinsmen are, battle surely marches on them as well. So although they would not be in battle together, the would certainly both be in battle. Such is the way of the devout Catholic. So often we are in battles on our own, when the Church, the family or traditional values come under attack during the course of our lives. Every once in a while though its good to see another joyful warrior carrying his cross in his own way.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great story!

If we look closely, we can find the treasure!