People close to me know I cherish my routine run along the Potomac River bike path. My loop passes Gravelly Point near National Airport; a popular site for aircraft enthusiasts. The parking lot there also serves as rest stop for cab drivers, often spotted laughing and joking amongst themselves as they share a midday snack. I take comfort in observing this boisterous human exchange near the airport, just as I do in spotting geese, migratory waterfowl, and other wildlife earlier in my run. These somewhat predictable encounters serve as reminder of the importance of ritual and its role in our spiritual grounding.
A once frequent sighting on my run, again near Gravelly Point, was that of a barefoot cab driver, kneeling and stretched across his rug, deep in prayer. He chose a spot under a small tree, some fifteen yards from the bike path. Not wanting to disturb his meditation as I passed, I would transform my heavy steps into a prancing tiptoe. How I admired his discipline amidst the din and commotion of air, ground, and foot traffic, and appreciated this gentle reminder of the significance of daily prayer. All too often, I fall short of this practice once Lent has passed and the convenience of these daily Pathways readings subside.
While this cab driver and I do not share the same understanding of God, we likely share gratitude for family and friends—and pray for spiritual guidance towards an open and loving heart in these turbulent times.
It’s been over a year since I have seen the praying cab driver. I suspect, like migratory waterfowl, he sought a more-adaptable climate for his practice. Perhaps someday he can return to Gravelly Point.
Appointed readings for today: Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18, Psalm 27, Luke 13:31-35