Noticing the Woman on the Bus

Noticing the Woman on the Bus

by Tom McGrath

I made this video a year or so ago for the 30 Good Minutes program which airs on public television. My original message was clear—you may find compassion in the least likely of places and from the least likely of people. Lately, though, I have begun to look at this story from the point of view of the woman on the bus. I hope I’m wrong, but I imagine she spends her days mostly overlooked and unnoticed. She's easily disregarded. Invisible—including to me except in my moment of need.

Do you ever feel as though you’re that lady? In your daily ministry do you labor behind the scenes, your work going unrecognized except perhaps by those you directly help?

And sometimes not even by them. Most of the religious educators I know aren’t motivated by the hope of reward or public accolade. They just want to have a positive impact on the lives of the children, teens, adults, and families they serve. Yet I know there are days when they wonder if they’re having any impact at all. Does anybody see me?!?!

It’s important to remember that God always notices what we do, and that in God’s great plan, no effort put forth on behalf of “the least of these” will ever be wasted.

To help keep God’s perspective in mind, in my prayer at the end of the day I become aware that I’m in the presence of God. I tell God, person to person, about “the prayers, works, joys, and sufferings” I experienced during my day. Of course God already knows all these things, but it’s greatly consoling for me to experience God noticing and caring about my day. I find this exercise especially helpful when I find myself getting resentful and agitated. Give it a try and imagine what God sees as he looks at you.