A few months ago my Significant Other and I found ourselves stranded in the Greyhound bus station in Cleveland. Nothing we planned for sure; but part of a bizarre situation.
While we waited, and waited and waited to be on our way, a woman, who I perceived was homeless, caught my eye. She looked like she was in her late 60’s, but then she could have been younger and her life situation had taken a toll on her physical appearance. She had a pushcart filled with what was probably her sole possessions. For the three hours we were there she walked the perimeter of the waiting room over and over again. Every so often she would sit down on a bench, but within two to three minutes she was up walking again.
She seemed to be well known by the workers at the station who called her by name, so I gathered that this was a place she frequented. Probably on the cold and snowy days in Cleveland, this was her refuge from being out on the street.
And then it dawned on me that maybe the walking and the very short pauses to sit on the bench were part of a routine. Maybe if she didn’t keep moving or she sat too long, she would have to leave the shelter of the bus station? Maybe she would be considered loitering if she didn’t keep moving?
Certainly a sad situation. Would this be the life that she would continue to live? Walking the perimeter of the bus station. Would this be the only plans for her days? And what happened to bring her to this stage of her life. Was it bad choices, or bad karma, or bad circumstances beyond her control? I heard myself saying, “But for the grace of God, go I”.
Life happens to us all. Hopefully never to the point that we find ourselves homeless trying to survive in the Cleveland Greyhound bus station. But every day brings circumstance. When these are good, we need to be grateful. When not so good we need to make a choice. Do we accept them, surrender to them, or choose to overcome them? It all comes down to choice.
When we finally left the bus station, I wanted to hope that the woman would find a way to make different choices if that is what brought her there, or find the help that she needed that would change her circumstances.
I was certainly grateful we were leaving Cleveland. I was also grateful that God had blessed me with the ability and the means to do that.