Traveling for over 24 hours on a greyhound is not for the faint of heart. One must be able to tolerate uncomfortable seats, very little leg room, and brakes so squeaky they wake you up from whatever short uncomfortable rest you got. One must not get upset over witnessing bad cellphone ettiqutte and bad parenting. One must not be bothered by gassy old men, the smell of weed, or talk of the best prostitutes in any given city. One must be okay with frequenting gas stations and sketchy bus stops with locks on the doors and bars on the windows where at any moment a fight may (and did!) break out.
For many single, 22 year old, white, Midwestern girls, traveling alone, this trip would probably make them super uncomfortable.
BUT I LOVED IT.
I could write about all the crazy stories I now have, but instead, I’ll let you know my main take away. Have you heard of the book The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning? So far, I’ve only read the first couple chapters, but I know the book is about God’s grace, and how it is for those who are lost, dirty, and messed up---otherwise for us all. It’s not only for the very hygienic, the church goers, those with the same values as I. It’s for the unshowered, the pot smokers, those who just got out of prison. God’s grace is for people. For all people. In the same way that He wants me to know the depth and power of His love; he wants everyone else to know that too.
“If you look down on anyone on the planet, you don’t understand the Gospel.”-Steve Treichler
On my ride, I met those who were dirty, drug dealers, pot smokers, nomads, migrants, homeless, young, old, veterans, and a few men recently released from prison. People who God wants to know His power, His character, His love. My goal at the beginning of this week was to talk to strangers more. We are called to love people, and how can we do that unless we talk to them first? On this trip, he gave me to opportunity to have great conversations multiple people. I got to learn about their life stories and how they ended up on a Greyhound. From that I got to ask about their dreams, their hopes in life, and their view of God and validity of the Bible. Mainly, I got to listen to people who needed someone to talk to; someone to care about them. I got to be that person, and I love being that person. I may never see any of them ever again, but I hope they will remember our conversations as I will. I hope I impacted them as much as they have impacted me.
And from this point on, I hope to start talking to strangers more. On the bus, on the street, in class, everywhere. I also hope to finish reading The Ragamuffin Gospel, but I’ll need to borrow someone’s copy. I had the opportunity to give it to a man who just got out of prison. He had asked me what I was reading and seemed very interested in the topic. Pray that he reads it and pray that I don’t forget what I learned and keep talking to strangers.