Have you ever noticed how quiet public transportation is? Not so much the road noise or ambient atmosphere that comes with public transit but how there’s such a large number of people and it’s nearly silent. People don’t talk, or even make eye contact, on public transit. Stick a crowd in a small room or in a plaza, and the air is filled with chatter, yet never on a bus or a train.
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of taking my parents and younger brother to London, showing them the sights and sounds that I was able to enjoy five years ago during my study abroad. They all commented on how disconnected they felt in a city of 8 million people. People went out of their way to avoid any sort of communication while traveling in the city.
I’m not sure if this is a cultural thing or if it’s a city thing, but for south Texans, silence is unusual. People are generally friendly, offering a nod or smile to passerby at the very least. There’s a certain camaraderie and warmth imbued in the culture. The idea of stranger is someone you haven’t met yet, versus someone you don’t want to meet.
In a city of 8 million people, it’s mind boggling how easy it is to feel alone.
Of course, this isn’t strictly a London, city, or even British thing. This can happen in my hometown. A feeling of being disconnected from the people around you, an easy cone of personal space that doesn’t interfere with the human beings around you.
Personally, striking up conversations has never been my strong suit. Speaking with strangers? Almost impossible. I am much more comfortable behind a piece of paper or computer screen where I can organize my thoughts and plan out what I want to say. I have an excuse on the tip of my tongue every time the Spirit prompts:. “But Lord, I can’t speak well!”
Hmm, that sounds familiar.
In Exodus 3, God called Moses to go back to the land he ran away from to speak, to be a leader, to rescue His people. Last time Moses was in Egypt, he killed a man. He betrayed the family that raised him. There would be no welcoming committee waiting for him, But God still said go. He even sent Aaron with him to speak for him, not accepting Moses’ feeble attempts to avoid the call.
Going back to Egypt to challenge Pharaoh would not be comfortable for Moses. It wasn’t something he wanted to do, but still he went. Because the same God that rescued him as an infant was telling him to go. His excuses ran out. The option was simple, obey or disobey.
And every day, we face that same choice of obedience. We have never been told not to interact with the world. We have not been told to be disconnected. Instead, we have been called to go (Matthew 28:19). Are there people God’s calling you to connect with? Are there conversations He is asking you to start? Will you walk in obedience to His calling?