Most of the trips I offer to riders are fairly short, 20 minutes or less. Sometimes we hardly talk to one another. Other times, we have a friendly chat. I find it very fascinating to listen to people talk about their lives, especially when they are vulnerable to share some of their life story. People can really connect with one another when they feel safe and valued – just ask Brene’ Brown:

Brown’s point that “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change” is true, even on an Uber ride. Granted many Uber drivers and riders aren’t the least bit interested in being vulnerable. The ride is simply a transaction; a chance to get from one place, safely and effectively. I get that. It’s important for me to listen and observe what a passenger’s expectations are for their short journey.

I’m also interested in listening to people’s stories when they would like to share them. I’m comfortable with sharing some of my story when people indicate that they’d like to learn something about me. I think this kind of social networking is one thing I like about driving for Uber. I meet really great people who are living very interesting lives.I don’t think that such communications is part of Uber’s overall business strategy. Nevertheless people connect with one another just because, well we’re human. Many of us like to talk. Some of us also enjoy listening too.  It’s really quite wonderful for me anyway when vulnerable verbal exchanges about shared and different life experiences happen between people.

Sometimes we talk and listen to one another about transitions. Yesterday, I had two clients (riders? – which of these two words is better?) who shared with me that they were in the process of moving or relocating from one place to another. The first conversation was with an undergraduate student. He was transferring to another school in another city. He was willing to share some of his feelings about the move. He seemed excited and sad. He was leaving behind friends even as he was pursuing his dreams and going to a school where he felt he would be more fulfilled. He reminded me of how I felt as an undergraduate when I dis-enrolled from one school to attend another one. In the meantime, he was headed home to spend time with family and get himself situated for the next phase of his life in a new place.

The second person had just moved from area of town to another one. Again, I heard her share a variety of emotions. She was going to be closer to her work, and living in a wonderful residence. I heard her also share that she was looking forward to getting settled and focusing on some important projects that were taking place in the next couple of days.

Transitions, such as relocating from one residence, school, or job, to another are frequently very stressful for people, especially when they happen coincidentally.

Jesus' disciples on the Sea of Galilee
Jesus’ disciples on the Sea of Galilee

I view similarly the struggles that Jesus’ disciples’ encountered on the Sea of Galilee (John 6: 16-21). They were working really hard to get from one shore to another. For some reason, they didn’t decide to go find Jesus before they embarked upon their stormy trip across the sea.  That decision kinda makes sense given that some of them were fisherman. Nevertheless, they panicked in the midst of their transition. They feared a solution even when Jesus showed up and got into the boat with them.

The story is something of a life narrative, isn’t it? We can get really caught up in our fears when we exchange something we value for something else. We may be very hopeful and self-assured even as we don’t know what’s going to happen with our furniture being arranged in a different way.  It gets even better when we’re exchanging one set of friends or job expectations for something new. It can become really frightening when we let go of something or someone we truly love.

People handle change and transformation in all kinds of way. I think that sharing a conversation with someone who is trustworthy and compassionate is a really good place to begin such a journey. Believing in one’s healthy intuitions is also a valuable trait. For people of faith, it is good to remember that God’s purpose in life is neither to condemn or abandon us. Will we have to travel across some turbulent waters from time to time. Absolutely! Life is rarely static, especially in today’s world. And, we who have faith in God and divine providence believe in our hearts that we can count on other people, God, and ourselves to creatively find our way into something new that is better for us, our families and friends, and the world about us.  Those are the sorts of transitions that become truly transformational.  I wonder if sharing a 15 minute Uber ride doesn’t provide some sort of interesting boat for people who don’t really know one another to share stories and learn more about how to live life. Certainly, connections take place under all kinds of conditions.

on to the next ride….


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