In Transit

Twice now on NJ Transit, I have been accosted (perhaps a-cross-ted is more appropriate) by “Heavenly Mother” religious campaigners. The first spiritual attack occurred at the Secaucus train station. I had just descended the escalator, and was preparing to spend the last ten minutes of my 45-minute layover time sitting on a bench near the platform, triple-checking a scratch off that I long knew to be a loser. (I’ve long since given up on magazines in favor of staring off into space, or the occasional scratch off. A blank stare and contemplating destiny, I now realize, may earmark me for such attacks.)
Then, an ethereal voice spoke, almost like the cinematic voice of Him, but softer, more appropriate, I later realized, for Her, “Can I ask you a question?” Turning toward my benchside companion, I saw a normal-looking young guy; thinking he was about to ask about the train, I agreed. It soon became clear that thoughts of trains were not running through his mind. He had already figured out the destination – the Heavenly Mother’s destination, to be exact – and I, apparently, was the one who needed a question answered. I know that I should have collected my belongings and politely departed his company, but I was intrigued.
Who was this ‘Mother’? Was she the one that I had learned of in my four years of Catholic school and five years of CCD, only with a longer, extended presence in his Bible? Was this the director’s cut, with special features and extra scenes? Yes.
He opened his weathered bible and revealed passages that I knew to be equivalent to the Rosetta Stone, and he, alone, was my interpreter. With service like that, it’s any wonder that people strive to learn new languages. What is a human language compared to the tongue of the divine? As these thoughts rose to my mind, I knew myself to be on the same page as he…or He…or She. As my benchside companion pointed out his textual proof that a Heavenly Mother was to soon descend upon the Earth, I glanced at his eyes, luminous as the highlighted Bible passages at his fingertips. I tried to illuminate my messenger’s personal life choices through heartfelt questions, but soon realized that such attempt at normal discourse was akin to a temptress baiting a married man. I should have known better. They learned their first time with Eve, for God’s sakes.
I matched my tone to his, matched his cult-like questions, asking the question he begged me to ask: “When is she coming, and how will we know?” For that kind of answer, apparently, I’ll need to attend a meeting. But, I was left with a teaser. She’s in North Korea, preparing for World War III. I boarded the train feeling torn, wondering if I should enter the throes of cult order in order to divert war. After all, I need those trains to keep running.
The “Heavenly Mother” flock must have sensed that I had not been converted, for a few weeks later I was targeted, once again. It was a still afternoon when I emerged from the Hoboken station, the 3 p.m. Sunday slow. I was alone on the street, counting the cobblestones when, all of a sudden, I heard a voice, this time female. I turned to answer the “Excuse me, can I ask you a question?” posed by the two young girls behind me. And then the follow-up. “Do you know the Mother?” I audibly sighed, to which they expressed immediate concern. Wrong move, I thought to myself. Now they knew I was in desperate need of their assistance. I assured them that I was fine, that I had been approached, not too long ago, by fellow “Mothers” in training, that I was no “baby on board” that needed extra attention from those at the wheel for the Lord Mother. Armed always with a reply, they countered, “But don’t you think, then, that this is no coincidence, but a sign that you should know your Mother?” Well, no, it may have been a sign that I should call my own mother, and maybe Jesus should call his, but a divine sign it was not.
But I was left pondering one question. Was God trying to tell me something with these relentless messengers in transit? At that moment, I had no job prospects on the horizon, just a headache of a resume swimming between my eyes. So, at that point, yes, I was on the spiritual fence with the “Mother” campaign. These people were obviously hiring. And my resume’s last line clearly demonstrates I can communicate. Luckily for me, I landed a job before a third Mother encounter; otherwise, I would have most definitely followed up for that interview.


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