This is a little something I wrote yesterday for this month’s FIFUL Faith and Justice Forum; the topic was transportation and justice. Here are my two cents, whatever that adds up to. : )
Fresno Area Express… I’ll readily admit that the city bus is not always as “express” as it could be. There is no pretending that riding the bus is a glamorous thing – the AC isn’t always the best, it take a while to get from 0 to 60, a few of my fellow riders aren’t too concerned about their hygiene, we don’t have hydraulics or rims or fuzzy dice.
What my bus does have, though, is a world that I would have never experienced on my own. Riding the bus gets me out of my small world, a world that is quite pleasant but is mostly white, middle to upper-class, Protestant, and familiar. The FAX does a wonderful job of plunging me into the unfamiliar, which can be a really, really fun time.
My bus reminds me to live intentionally, consciously, and environmentally-friendly. My bus does wonders for the earth; it brings justice to the ozone and righteousness to the greenhouse gases. It is healthy for the world we live in. But for me, it’s even more than environmentalism, I ride the bus because it is healthy for my own soul. It gets me out of myself, into somebody else’s sphere of living that has an incredible amount of wisdom to offer.
Some of my favorite people, the Amish, say they ride buggies because it slows them down. The bus is my buggy, reminding me to slow down and think about the choices I make in life… Am I choosing to live a life marked by convenience and comfort and self-sufficiency? Or can I make the choice to live with a little more work, a little less comfort, and a renewed appreciation for the beauty of interdependency?
Justice means that things are set right, that things are moved from their state of inequality to their state of equality. I may look like a silly little middle-class white girl getting on a big unfamiliar bus, but it is that kind of thing that defies our skewed notions of the certain things that certain people should and shouldn’t do. And every time I get on that bus, it becomes more familiar – and it becomes more okay for me, a silly little white girl, to be there.
That is justice to me, not conforming to the myths about what we should and shouldn’t be doing. If we follow the example of Jesus, he had some pretty crazy ideas about deconstructing those myths.
So is there risk on my bus? I suppose so… the world of the bus is where most of my date offers come from. And from some very interesting fellows.
It does get awkward.
But I am more than willing to get past that awkardness, to a place where I can simply be with my neighbors in their journey – and become a part of that community that exists on those wheels.