A Metra train ride can be quite the adventure. Depending upon the time and line, the ride can be a quiet journey or a nerve rattling encounter. Wednesday afternoon, a semi-express from downtown out to Cary and I had a corner seat upstairs right next to the engineer’s room. Perfect! Plenty of room to stretch out, enjoy my coffee, read or simply close my eyes and relax. Ah yes. A nice, quiet and easy commute was in the making.
Then, of course, there is the possibility of an extended conversation which is exactly what I choose, or rather, what was chosen for me. The gentleman directly across from me, earphones in and seemingly alone in his world was wearing a Detroit Red Wings cap. We looked up at one another, I pointed to his hat and gave him a “thumbs up” sign. He took out his earphones and asked if I were a “Wing Nut,” too. I knew what he meant. (fans of the Red Wings are often referred to as a wing nut…don’t ask me to explain it any further than that, thank you.) We leaned in closer to the rails and began a conversation that lasted from the Clybourn stop to Cary.
First off, we talked sports. I knew we had a common bond what with the Red Wings and all. Found out Kevin was born and raised in Metro Detroit. Another common piece to our individual puzzles. He was suburban raised and me, inner city just outside downtown. We knew the local ‘hot spots,’ popular watering holes, greasy spoons and the better dining establishments, too. We talked about our world class Detroit Institute of Arts, the Detroit Historical Museum and of course, the city’s long and distinctive history of rock and roll, Motown and Techno music which was born in Detroit. Then, he ventured into the arena of politics and religion, which today can be quite risky. Well, again, he and I were on the same page. No harsh words or demeaning comments were expressed toward any individual politician or church leader. Rather, we talked openly of our disappointment with regards to the state of our country; the chasm that has been created due to partisan politics, and a seemingly, ineffective Church hierarchy that has allowed years and years of abuse against children and women to go unchecked. The conversation went back and forth. It was lively, honest and possessive of a tone reminiscent of two, long-time friends, let alone two strangers on a train.
The conductor announced the next stop, Barrington, followed by Cary. This set Kevin in motion as he gathered his papers together while I took advantage of the lull in the conversation to take a long desired sip of my coffee which was now tepid at best. He asked if I were married and I said yes, I most certainly am. I talked about Douglas, how we met and how long we’ve been together. He looked at me, smiled and said, “Now that’s cool. Good for you.” I knew he meant what he said; that he truly was sincere. There’s no mistaking a smile like that as being anything but sincere. He said he and his wife have been together for 26 years, too. Another ironic twist in a series of coincidences. Then again, I’ve long held that there are no coincidences, rather unique moments in time when things line up just so with God being the “Prime Mover.” I mentioned St. Nicholas Episcopal Church, extending an invitation to come, bring the family, visit and see what we’re all about. He said he may do just that, though truth be told, I would be quite surprised if he did make good on the invitation. Then again, who knows? Once the train come to the Cary Station, we both hopped off, shook hands, he headed to the east parking lot and I began my walk up Main Street toward home, sweet home.
My sisters and brothers, make good use of the time we have to reach out, open up to others and share a little about ourselves with the people around us. We need only divulge that with what we are comfortable while we respect the privacy of others. Silence may be golden but shared conversations and open dialogues are platinum and priceless and may lead to an exchange that could well change someone’s life. Kevin may never show up at St. Nicholas. However, and perhaps more important, he knows we are a pretty friendly, welcoming and an all inclusive faith community. This my friends, makes all the difference in the world.