I’m up early. So early I can hear birds in the “city” quiet. The number of people I see in what is normally a densely populated area can be counted on my fingers. I can pick any seat I want in the subway. The city is waking.
Along with the birds comes the early morning noise, so different from the usual chaos of sounds that it feels quiet. A man pushing up the heavy metal of a store front security shutter on a Mexican grill; a flower and fruit vendor moving heavy buckets filled with the day’s bouquets; far off shouts from a construction team setting out orange cones – the city is waking.
The city is waking. Waking to all its clamor and bustle. Waking to hundreds of people who will use its services. Waking to women in business attire, their conservative black suits void of flair, and waking to women who work in the service industry. It’s waking to men who hold positions of authority and men who work in the subway.
There are times when I envy those who live in rural areas, where acres of land stretch and God seems so close, so present. Areas where, in my ignorance of the challenges of life in that context, it would seem easy to write about faith.
The city with its cacophony of sounds, its potholes, its brokenness, its homeless, its smells – this is my space, my place where I write about faith.
The city is waking and every morning before and after it will do the same, readying itself for the demands of the day. As the city wakes, so am I to wake – but I don’t want to. Because it’s Monday. And I don’t look attractive in cubicle grey. And it feels like too much sometimes. And just as I think I can’t do it I see Mary, who sells the Boston Herald and we smile and say hi; and up two blocks by the Omni Parker Hotel, creator of Boston Cream Pie and Parker House Rolls, I see Winston from Haiti and we greet each other like old neighbors; neighbors who don’t know each other well but find comfort in familiarity. The city, now made up of people, acts as a persistent alarm clock that cannot be turned off.
The city is waking. And as it wakes I walk and think and pray about faith waking. Faith waking to see with eyes wide open all that is around me; all that is known by God, all those who are loved by God, all those who desperately need God to enter their city world.
And with those thoughts I wake with the city, making a last stop to get my morning prescription of caffeine, dressed for the city “black as Hell, strong as death, sweet as love” coffee.
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