Monday, July 26, 2004

Our Selfish Hearts

Today I found out that life has a funny way of showing us our faults.  Today, I learned that sometimes the most frustrating things in our lives can end up being situations that teach us the most. 
    As I made my way to the Bus Stop, I found myself parched.  Since I had time before my bus arrived, I decided to get some water from a fast food restaurant that was near me.   As I made my way out of the restaurant, I saw that my bus was at its stop.  I ran to the bus, however, as I approached it, it began to close its doors.  My hands knocked on the glass as it began to drive off, however,  it did not stop.  It simply proceeded on its path.   The next bus was scheduled to come in the next couple of minutes, however, I was still so angry with that bus driver.  Why didn't he stop?  I felt so jaded.   My attitude was sour, and my actions matched my attitude.  
   This event reminded me of an incident that happened the night before.  My boyfriend, some friends, and I went to see Spiderman 2 last night after church.  Near the theater, parking was horrible. We had been driving in the area for fifteen minutes and still had not found anything. It was so frustrating driving up and down those parking structures and failing to find a spot.    What made it even more frustrating,  was seeing a spot open up and then watch as another driver drove into it before we had the chance.  And I forgot to mention that they had just entered the parking structure.......
     I immediately wanted to honk the horn with anger.  We had been driving for fifteen minutes to find parking and they merely drove into the structure and found something.  I could not believe that that had just happened.  It just seemed so unfair.  But, you know what I, also, find interesting,  how the prosperity given or mercy shown to others can make us jealous.  We always want the good of what others have because somehow we feel we deserve it better.   In that incidence, I felt we derserved the parking spot more than they did.  Both those stories had a similar theme, they both reflected me and what I wanted.  I didn't like how others had treated me, however, I did not think twice about the attitude I was bestowing upon them.
   I was instantly jolted from my thinking last night, when a friend said, "You should be happy that they were able to find parking.   It is just as hard for them as it is for us, they were just blessed to find one."  If I was to be completely honest, I would say that those words were not the most appealing to me when I heard them, however, they spoke truth.   And truth is not always easy, though often needs to be said.   When life doesn't go the way I planned, that doesn't mean I should be mad at the one who does have life go the right way, I should be happy for them.  And though a bus driver refuses to let me on his bus, doesn't mean I have the right to be rude to him.     
      I am learning that the life you live is always a reflection of what is inside.  And we are selfish human beings, who long for justice for ourselves and forget about the injustice we bring to others.   We want peace, mercy, grace, and love.  All these things that make us feel whole.  It is our selfishness that demands these things of others and our selfishness that makes us mad when we don't get them.  And then we also claim to have already lived them out for others.  However, it is actually the ambsence of selfishness, that bring those things to fruition in our lives and enables us to give them to others. 

Friday, July 09, 2004

The Past Three Days

In the past three days, I became one of the many who ride the bus and their main means of transportation to my job. The difference is that I have a car and choose to ride the bus. Whereas many I ride with everyday do not have this same choice as well.

In the last few days, I have had two very significant things happen to me while traveling to and from work. Yesterday, on my way to work, my bus was delayed for 10 minutes. The reason was a little more interesting than the event itself. When my bus stopped at Vermont and Wilshire, it began to let others aboard the bus. It was only after the bus was full, that the bus driver noticed there was a man in a wheel chair who needed to get on the bus as well. In the state of CA, a bus driver is not allowed to leave man in a wheel chair without getting him on the bus or waiting with the individual in the wheelchair until the next bus arrives. The personalities that development from this situation seriously made me laugh. Every person had a comment, insisting that the bus continue on its route. What amazed me was that the bus driver stood his ground, and kept saying that he could not move until we were able to fit him on our bus or until the next bus could come. This made the crowd even more mad, however, not one of them volunteered to get off the bus to provide room for the man in the wheelchair. This made me laugh inside. Almost every person on the bus was willing to complain about the situation, but not one person volunteered to be the answer to the solution. Of course, the bus driver could have taken more notice of the man in the wheelchair prior to letting so many on the bus.

The other situation that happened on Tuesday while I was riding the bus home. About a mile after my stop, a white male got onto the bus. He was clean, however, one could tell that his home was primarily the streets. Next to me was an African American woman. She didn't say much to anyone at first. The man on the otherhand was more outspoken, however harmless in everything he was saying to people on the bus. I, personally, chose to ignore him. When he paid for his fare, he paid for it in all change and dropped most of it on the ground. When he had settled in, he offered a sandwich to others on the bus, but when no one replied to his offer he began to eat. Then, when he pulled out his money and began to count it before the African American lady, all hell broke loose. The lady began to yell at the man and call him names. I am not sure what was said to her, however, whatever was said made her mad. She just kept calling him names and telling him that he smelled. She insisted that he get off the bus.... over and over again and repeated comments about her disgust at his eating food on the bus. The argument began to become heated when she called him "Dirty White Trash" and he followed with calling her a "Nigger". I could not believe these words were coming out of them. Finally, the bus came to a stop and the woman got up and kicked the white man towards the door of the bus and proceeded to spit at him. She claimed that he was spitting at her while they talked. On the outside of the bus, an African American man stood. When he saw that a African American woman was in quarrels with this man, He proceeded to yell at the bus driver for not doing his job. He assumed that the black woman had been the victim. The event ended when the man was politely kicked off the bus by the bus driver. The woman, however, turned at looked at me. She began talking to me about the situation. She kept saying "You white folks don't have these kinds of problems do you?." I didn't know what to do, I just stared at her for a second and then proceeded to read my book. I could have spoken up, however, I realized at the moment that anything I would have said would not have helped the situation. This woman had a lot of bitterness inside and probably most of it was justified, however, nothing I would have said could have helped the bitterness subside. Just before my stop came, she looked at me again and said "You ignorant White Bitches are all the same." I simply got off of my seat and proceeded out the door. That was the last I saw of her.

It is amazing what a person can hold onto in their life. The horrible things we experience, we hold on to them instead of letting them go. They become deeply place within our brain never to be forgotten. Never forgetting, so that we can validate our pain. What happens is that bitterness consumes us and then begins to pour over in other situations in our lives. It is not just this one person that hurts us, but then, also, every person who might resemble them as well. I am not sure what that man said to her on the bus, but I can say that that woman was not just yelling at him, but every other white person who has hurt her as well. The bitterness she felt, helped to assume he was like the others and thus deserved being treated in such a manner.

It is situations like these that make you think about the bitterness that we each hold. How many things do we hold against others, though justified? And what could happen if we let them cosume us?


Four days ago, I started a job working in Beverly Hills, allowing me to take the bus from my apartment in Westlake Neighorhood to my job. While traveling on the bus, I have experienced many interesting things. Some things that were fustrating, some funny, and some...thought provoking. This Blog's purpose is to track those events as they happen.