at the green.


I sped off the ramp up the hill to the traffic light. The light turned green.

But still, the traffic was still.

Third in line, I

Think about honking

But stop when I see 
The first car roll down its window

And hand a sandwich to a man

Standing with a sign
That says, “God bless.”
 I roll my eyes at the guy who stopped

and say

“I’m gonna miss the light.”
And I do. It turns red. 

I am the first car in line

with my window rolled up

with the same man approaching

my window.
I roll it down just a little bit.

“I’m sorry, I don’t have anything.”
But I notice the dollar in

my second cupholder

and I hand it to the man
who stops me and does not take it.
“miss, I don’t want money.” 

I look at him, closer this time

and see his blue eyes

and the way his graying hair sticks out

from underneath his cap
He says, “do you have anything to drink?”
And I look down 

at the half of the now cold 

rhubarb tea I bought

four hours ago 

and I feel water in my eyes

that does not fall like rain

my heart drops and I say,

“Sir, I only have some cold rhubarb tea.”
I roll my window down the rest of the way

and hand it out the window

he tells me, “this is the best tea I’ve ever tasted”

and I laugh a little and start to roll up my window. But the man keeps talking
so I roll it back down and he says,

“Thank you for being a light.”
I say the same back to him as the light turns green.

—-

Two days

later

I’m on a shuttle bus

At ten pm

Heading home 

After a 15 hour day

with a bus full of boys

who get off on the next stop.
And it’s me, and a girl who looks tired

sitting across from me

and the bus driver, who plays a weird

mixture of 80’s, 90’s and today

over the radio.
The small voice inside of me says, talk

to her. And I do not listen.
She drops her keys and I hear again, talk

to her. I do not listen.
As she picks up her keys, I feel my heart rise into my throat and the words that come out say,
“the struggle is real.” 
And my mind says really

But she replies, right?

We both laugh.
She’s a freshman

who works the night shift at a hotel

close to campus

to make some extra money

she’s getting sick with a cold
And I hear that voice again, pray

for her. I do not listen.
Her stop is next. Pray

for her. I do not listen.
She does not get off

at the stop I thought she would. 
Pray for her. I do not listen.
And she tells me how hard it is to find 

community because she has to sleep

during the day
but she just joined a bible study and 

really likes it.
My stop is next. Pray for her.
So I tell her my situation,

I’ll be leaving soon

and I’m half considering 

staying on the bus longer 

for a little more courage
but I ask her if I can pray 

and she says yes.
So I put my hand on her shoulder

as I say amen

I’m about to get off the bus
I hear the driver yell back,

“are you PRAYING on my bus?”

and I, for a split second

want to run

but I stop  

and I say, yes.
He tells me how

it made his day to know

that even though he can’t play

his favorite worship album

on the bus 

because it’s not allowed

that Jesus is still there.
It struck me in that instant

We touch far more than we understand

As we touch, it is not always graceful

but 

it is full of grace.
I know it is well.

I know I could’ve kept driving, could’ve kept blasting St. Lucia through my headphones, could’ve stayed quiet.

But it is us, who, by unchaining our own feet, will set others free. 

There is so much more than we know to be true or wish was true. 

There is no harm in what lies outside of our comfort zone. There is only grace

a voice waiting to be called our own

a posture that teaches us humility

a life that believes love is real

and a love that is faithful

it is free

it is freedom

it is grace. 

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