Prayer #148: Heartwarm-up

Bus-stop Boxer

It's a truth universally acknowledged that a person in want of a bus will wait longer on frigid nights.

That was the case last week when I turned to ice waiting for the N4 after my voice lesson. Though it was only 7:15 pm, the evening had already soaked in cold ink for a couple hours. I tucked myself into a corner of the stop to block the wind, which helped for about four minutes.

The more often I craned my neck to see if the bus was coming, the faster I lost sensation in my digits. When the bus finally arrived, I leaped on and sat as far from the doors as possible.

When I transferred to the Metro, I passed two homeless men huddled in the entry way. One crouched next to a busted suitcase packed with his possessions. The other was laying on the concrete wrapped in city-issued blankets. Both wore old parkas, black hats, and gloves.

At first sight, I thought, "I should buy them a hot sandwich." But I didn't.

When I crossed the entryway, I thought, "Or at least a coffee." But I didn't.

When I stepped onto the escalator, I thought, "You really should stop, Julia. At least offer it to them." But I didn't.

At the bottom of the station, I thought, "Now or never. Think how bad the bus stop felt for 30 min. Now imagine 8 hours of that. Help them."

But even then, I didn't.

Instead I swiped my metro card to ride a heated train home where it took a hot meal, two sweaters, and three more degrees on the thermostat to defrost me before bed. And when I arrived back at the train station the next morning for work, I did not think to look at the corner and see if the men were still there.

What stopped me from stopping that night? Why did I let the cold reach my heart? And how can I warm up to the right thing next time?

Prayer #148: Heartwarm-up

God of white-hot light --

Heat my constricted heart, so that it expands beyond its natural boundaries and blossoms in the presence of those who need its compassion most.

Illuminate the creeping corners I refuse to examine, so that I finally confront my inadequacies and leave them to evaporate in the noonday sun.

Ignite in me a passion for social justice, so that 'Your will be done' ceases to be a rote recitation and instead becomes my clarion call for action in an unbalanced world.

You manifest as a pillar of fire to demand our attention. Demand it of me now; I wish to extinguish it no more.