Train ride back downtown, late April night riding backwards in the silver tube of the el.

It’s growing dark outside, my own reflection stares back at me through the window.

Behind my faint reflection, apartment buildings, stores, train stops whip past in the spring dusk.

I watch them.

Watch and think.

That’s why I love these weekly hours on the train; I understand myself, life around me, better on the train.

Better when I watch the city blur past, the clouds above us skidding lazily across the lakeside sky.

Tonight, my phone is in my lap, tossed atop the pink bag now ragged and frayed from three years of daily use.

Five miles south, Mary’s finished work. I imagine her standing in line to pick up a late dinner, clutching keys, ID, in one hand, texting me with the other.

We trade intermittent messages, and then the conversation pauses, falls silent.

We’re content, involved elsewhere.

She eats, I watch night descend on the city.

I imagine her opening her styrofoam dinner box, waving at friends passing through on their way home, their way out once more.

Eyes unfocused on the glossy pane, I lean against the window.

Gently air blows from the fan that lines the window, and I blink as the stale air blows faintly across my face.

Without realizing it, I frown slightly, the depth of my internal conversation dragging my eyebrows down with it.

Then I’ve snatched my phone again and am swiping it on, typing in the password I stole from Livi (which, days later, Mary will change for one of her own liking).

Returning once more to my conversation with Mary, I begin to type.

As the spires of Chicago’s downtown towers glide closer, I type.

As memories and conversations slide through my mind, snapshots of things said and things done and decisions made, I type still.

I want to be kind. I want to be gentle. I want to be wise.

I want to be thoughtful and gracious and wise.

I want to know how to handle situations

and not be caught off guard

and never have to hurt anyone.

I want to be confident and content.

The train rolling, bringing me yet closer to the school I come home, I type my declaration.

Far from bragging, the list I’ve created is a list of goals; deep desires for who I want to become.

Sparked by train hours spent reflecting on that which bothers me, on conversations turned sour, both parties floundering, by my own blunders.

There’s more, of course, and I pause in my furious typing to think, to mull over a word, an attitude, an emotion I’m trying to capture.

I know perfect describes God and nothing else, and I know standards are set high, sometimes never to be met, but nor are these words flung onto an iPhone screen flippantly, without consideration.

I’ve thought about this, battled with this. I’ve thrown ideas and solutions back and forth in my head until the thinking frown above my eyes began to ache.

I don’t know if my late-night train ride manifesto is the solution, but when I think about those words, about the person I want to be, it brings me back to Jesus.

To a real person, a real relationship, and real change.



1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Diana
    Jun 20, 2014 @ 03:35:04

    Love love love. This and you. Veritably.


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