I jumped off the train as I prepared for a fun night in Toronto. People walked past me with large helium balloons that said, “I love you!” and girls had red, yellow and white roses in hand. I had the sensation of smallness that I feel in a huge crowd. I was exhilarated with the thought of endless opportunities and people and places. As I made my way down the steps to go through the train station, I heard two voices rise above the hum.
I had barely noticed them getting on the train as I got off. I guess my rush for good times and good eats had deterred not only my manners but also my compassion. Two blind men—holding canes and large suitcases—were trying to find the door and get on the train eastbound to my hometown. One of the men had found the door as he beat his stick up against the side of the train, pounding to find the way in. The other man did not find it as easily. The one who was inside shouted at the one who wasn’t as he attempted to lift his baggage on the train with him. He was yelling, giving directions to his comrade to enter the door. It was a pitiful sight, because the voice of one blind man hardly helped the blind eyes of the other as he waded through the sea of pushy, busy and unseen passengers. He was getting angry and frustrated, and no matter how loud his friend yelled or how many times he beat his stick on the train, he couldn’t find his way. The conductor sounded a warning to stand clear of the doors as they were closing.
I had just started down the stairs when I observed this spectacle. I turned and approached the man from behind. Taking him by the elbow, I asked, “Sir, would you like me to help you?” He responded with a sigh of relief and a resilient, “YES!” I took him by the hand, and in an instant he was up the steps. He said thank you firmly and clearly. I whispered a welcome.
I was thoughtful for a few moments, and I made a comment to my friend about how disabling it is to be blind, but we didn’t give it another thought the entire night.
But today my mind has returned to those short 30 seconds. I see the image of blind men beating and feeling their way to the train, and I hear the sound of their frustration.
There is a strong parallel between my brief episode in that train station and my life-long spiritual journey. In place of two blind men is a world full of people who can’t see the way to go, and no matter how loudly they yell at each other with directions or how desperately they search, they struggle to make sense of it.
I get squeamish at considering such obvious parables, stories with second meanings so simply profound that you are afraid of missing them. The humble admission that we can help to guide another borders on cliché, but it is frightening to realize how often we ignore such opportunities. It is often easier to walk past than it is to stop and offer our hand and heart to help those who have not yet known the grace of God. It is easier to be consumed by our own lives than it is to lay down our lives for others.
May we not take our sight for granted, those of us whom God has enabled to see the world as it really is, the darkness and the light. May we send people on the path to God—that narrow road winding through troubles and doubt, yet ending with the rewards and joys of heaven.
Dig Deeper: Luke 4:14-30
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