Friday, December 21, 2012

In the Absence of the Apocalypse, I Will Smile at More Pedestrians

The world didn't end today.  Last night as I was getting ready for bed I wondered, "What if the Mayans were right?" and I realized: I'd be fine with that.

Don't get me wrong: I'm not depressed, or looking to escape. But I've reached the point in my faith where I'm excited about heaven. I believe it will be spectacular, and if we'd all awoken there this morning, I think it would have been quite a party.

But we didn't.  Which means there's still work to do.

In the sermon series that I can't stop talking about (that I will hereinafter think of as "The Advent Series," even though it thus far makes no reference to Advent), the speaker describes how having a sense of purpose in life comes from organizing one's life around ministry, or "changing people's lives for the better."

I like that, because it's so broad. I don't do all that much to change the world, but I do some little things that seem to make a difference. Like my new favorite activity: smiling at pedestrians in crosswalks.

Cambridge is a perilous city for transportation, with drivers, bikers & walkers all vying for the same small slices of pavement as we navigate.  There are crosswalks everywhere, which makes it close to impossible to get anywhere in a hurry if you're in a car (Indeed, the city has been systematically removing parking spaces in an unsubtle attempt to force us all to use public transportation. As a person who grew up in Maine, where one does not voluntarily go underground until one has reached one's own "end of the world," I dislike this very much).  So pedestrians are a kind of a pain if you're driving...and cars with frustrated drivers are a real danger if you're a pedestrian.

One day not long ago, a grumpy-looking woman was waiting by the side of the road.  I stopped, but she just eyed me warily, not moving. So I smiled, and waved her across.  Her entire face lit up in stunned surprise, and she trotted across the road waving and smiling back at me like there was a trophy with her name on it on the other side.  It was marvelous.

Ever since then, in my better moments, I smile at pedestrians.  The response is so uplifting that now I'm addicted.  Sometimes I even scan the sides of the road looking for some potential crosser to smile at (which gets awkward when people are just waiting for the bus).

So I'm glad that the world didn't end today.  It means there are more pedestrians for me to smile at.  A small thing I can organize my life around that will (hopefully) make this waiting of Advent, for Jesus to return to rescue us once and for all, a little bit easier.


Anonymous said...

Can I just 'like' this one?

~laura said...

Apocalypse ideas are something that make me smile all the time. I believe these are just myths and we are wrong to believe on such things. we must not waste our today on such things that are not sure to be happening otherwise..