The city bus gives them the space and time. A 20-minute ride to school among strangers, unknown to each other, they are silent with each other for a week. The three are students and are taking the city bus to summer school. They know each other only by sight in class. The young girl waits on the bus as the other two are start to board. The young woman says hello to the first young man. She then asks him to call the other young man over. The second young man suddenly beams with joy at being called over, overcoming his early morning daze. Being called over has more power than morning coffee.

The conversation moves to why the floor of the bus is sparkly. Her question: why their parents ground them. Her comment: she hates to check in with their parents. The first teenager taunts her in a friendly self-protecting way. The three talk about skateboarding and the lack of balance. The conversation moves to typical teenage talk. They sort out the question that floats between the three — friend or foe?

To be called. To belong. To be called over. These are the kernels of friendship. These are the seeds of becoming a group. Jesus called his disciples to join him. That moment of being called out of our morning daze into the gaze of another. When we talk of the source of religion, of political movements and big social movements, the simplest reason, to be called over, seems to be forgotten.

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  1. Nice article! Is it a problem when “being called over” becomes more important than searching for truth and reality? For example, of the 9 supreme court justices, all but 1 of them voted on the health care question along party lines. This is the top court in the country, yet for 8 of these justices, “being called over” was to them more important than the truth or reality of what was right for the country in terms of health care. “Being called over” is truly one of the most powerful forces in the world!

  2. Wonder what has led to the erosion of such simple acts of belonging, which is such a natural instinct. Kids in middle and high school crave for belonging only to be rebuffed the popular crowd or to be taunted or bullied by others. As a society, we have invest in fostering a healthier environment for our kids in which belonging should not so difficult.

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