Chicago Skyline

Chicago Skyline (Photo credit: Frank Kehren)

In the high school halls
In the shopping malls
Conform or be cast out
Rush (the band)

Business–the kind of business I like, spiritual business–has brought me back to the western suburbs of Chicago. As I sit outside Starbucks in between meetings, there is what I would call “corporate jazz” playing over the system. People in ties sit and talk business over lattes. I’m sitting with my back to the drive through lane, in which there is consistently at least one car, if not several. I am sandwhiched between Butterfield Road and I-88 and the sound of cars is constant.

After a year’s absence, I am very out-of-step with this life. I feel life going on around me, much faster than I remember, and it tugs at me. Mind you, I don’t find it all that compelling, but it tugs and pulls nonetheless, reminding me that marching to a different drummer here means trying to do the hug & sway in the middle of a mosh pit. Possible, but uncomfortable.

There’s something else I’m reminded of too. That sense that everyone is living their own life and that no interaction is necessary or desired. As though there are all these parallel tracks that rarely cross or merge.

For me, I’ve decided that every day interactions matter. My ultimate goal is that I treat every interaction with another human being as an interaction that can transmit God’s grace. Even if that’s as little as a touch, a smile, a word of encouragement or simply seeing the person in front of me and looking them in the eyes, letting them know they are seen. The suburbs remind me that this way of life is  not only different, but radical. I am fortunate only to feel tugged rather than drowned.

Lord, thank you for this reminder to slow down and pay attention to those around me. Be with those who live every day in the rush and push of modern life, that they would still have the moments of quiet in which to hear your still small voice. Amen.


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