Sparks of the infinite... on the bus
A bus driver helps a woman see the beauty in each person
As I got on the bus one day, the driver welcomed me with a loud, “Morning, lovely!”
I noticed that everyone on the bus was looking at me and smiling. I thought I must have missed a joke. That was until we got to the next stop, when I realized that he greeted every passenger in the same way. “Morning, lovely!”
By then I was smiling too. When we reached my stop, the whole bus was smiling, and I was almost sorry to get off!
I was heading to church. It was around All Souls Day, and people were coming to remember their loved ones.
Halfway through the service, a woman shuffled into church. Her hair was soaking wet, and it stuck to her head and face. She was wearing a long raincoat, clearly several sizes too big. I also noticed that she only wore sandals, and her feet were blue. It was November.
She sat at the end of my pew, bringing an unpleasant odor with her. To my shame, I slid further down the pew, away from her, telling myself that she needed her space. But she kept sliding up towards me.
I suddenly thought: If she had ridden on our bus this morning, the driver would have said, “Morning lovely!”
The woman came right up to me and whispered: “I’ve come here today, luv, to remember me mum. Will you pray for me mum, luv?”
I thought of the driver and looked straight into her eyes and smiled.
“Yes of course,” I replied, “What was her name?”
“Okay, I’ll pray for Maggie.”
When we went to receive communion, she came too. We all said “Amen” as we received it, while she said, “Thank you, vicar.” Then we all went back to our seats; but she followed the vicar back to the altar and whispered to him as he cleared it.
The vicar took her gently by the arm and led her to the front. With his hand still holding her arm, he said: “Let us pray. Let us pray for Maggie, and for her daughter who has come here today to remember her.”
“Amen,” the congregation replied. She said, “Thank you, vicar,” and left.
The church felt different after she had gone — more holy, somehow.
I thought about it on the bus going home and remembered a talk I’d once heard. It spoke of how human beings still contain within their bodies some traces of stardust from the dawn of time, and in their souls, sparks of the infinite.
I silently thanked the driver for having helped me catch a glimpse of those sparks that morning.
Lesley Ellison, Liverpool
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