L is for Leveler

I have a car. His name is Coche and he’s awesome. But I’m going to level with you, I love me a quality public transportation system. After I got over the fear that a careening fireball would engulf our subway car (it happened in some movie), I began to see that this was a fantastic idea. Sure stations can be dirty and kind of creepy late at night. New York and Chicago are both working on that. But it’s a train that speeds underground! Or (even better) in Chicago, a subway and an elevated train that looks like the grandfather of the monorails at Disney World (of which I am also quite fond)!

But I realized something even better as EA and I rode the L Trains throughout the week: public transportation is the great equalizer. In our cars, we saw businessmen in three piece suits, the homeless, immigrants, young families, teenagers, tourists, the rich, the poor, the middle class, and scores of ethnicities all sitting and standing together.

We would all get to the station at the exact same time. If you were highly successful, you still got to your station at the same time as the guy that asked fellow passenger for a buck. And if one just dropped a ton of money shopping on Michigan Avenue, it did not guarantee them preferential treatment for a seat on the L. In fact, the official policy on the L trains is that only two groups get preferential treatment for seats: the elderly and the physically impaired. I find it interesting that a train looks out for two groups many of us unfortunately ignore.

There is something very good about this, this reminder that we’re all in this together. For all our stuff or lack thereof, all our nice or ragged clothes, all our success or failure in the eyes of the world, we all live, we all die, and we all get to our stops at the same time.

I looked around and remembered again that we are all made in God’s image. We are all frail, all sinful, all fallen, all in need of grace, all capable of redemptive acts. During this Easter season, it was a reminder that Christ died for each person on that car.

So if you get the chance, get away from the bubble of your own vehicle every once in awhile and join the folks taking public transportation. It might make you uncomfortable, but it also might remind you that—in spite of all the trappings of life—we’re all on the same level.

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