The humble pedestrian

A few quirks of behaviors here in HK I alternately find annoying or amusing (when able-bodied people take up space in the lifts rather than use the escalator, for example, or when upon entering those lifts, they press the close door button repeatedly), but I work to not be angry. I'm learning to just do as those proverbial Romans, and have consequently become much more assertive in sidewalk-maneuvering, especially when I have the stroller. 

 The real trick, however, is in adopting both the behavior and the attitude. See, Hong Kongers aren't angry when they push past you and they aren't annoyed by waiting in line at the lifts. So I'm trying to join in on not only the quasi-aggressive tactics, but also on the sense that it's all just part of the game, part of walking down the street, part of riding the MTR. And mostly, that works.  

But sometimes, like this morning, it doesn't work, and I get angry.  We were out shopping with Finn in the stroller, trying to get on a lift to take us down to the trains, waiting in a long line of primarily able-bodied folks (excepting one man in a wheelchair and his companion.) The typically small and slow lift arrived, the man in the wheelchair got on, and then the lift was filled with everyone else, including people who rushed past us to get on, filling it up so that there was no room for our stroller. 

And something in me snapped. I began reading very loudly the sign posted next to every lift: "Please give priority to those in need who have to use the lift." Even as the doors shut I continued reading, until Matt hushed me. 

Were we in the right, and they in the wrong? Certainly. Was it a big deal for us to wait an extra few minutes? Not a bit. And was my response childish? Absolutely. I still cringe a little when I think about it, so far was it from who I would like to be, from the humility Christ modeled, from the example I want to model for Finn, from just general graciousness. And all day long, Paul's words echoed in my head: "In humility consider others better than yourself" (Philippians 2:3).  

Being forced off the sidewalk by a group of teenagers walking arm-in-arm and not giving way: "In humility, consider others better than yourself." Fighting my way off the MTR through people standing in the doorway: "In humility consider others better than yourself." Simply wanting to walk faster than the old couple in front of us, holding hands and weaving all over the sidewalk: "In humility consider others better than yourself." 

God, help this not-so-humble pedestrian walk slowly, wait patiently, and elbow gently.

1 comment:

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