I had a brief experience today, which I saw differently because of the #yesallwomen hashtag discussion. It was something I had probably seen before but thought nothing of at the time. Indeed, I can honestly say I changed my behavior today because of what I read online.
It was just a stop at the bank. Well, the ATM vestibule, actually, as the bank proper was already closed. I pulled up, saw a man at the ATM and a woman sitting in her car, clearly waiting to go next. The vestibule is smallish, maybe ten feet by five feet, and has a close feeling with more than one person. Not long ago, I was at that machine when someone else came in; it felt awkward. The man inside today was taking an inordinate amount of time, and after a few minutes, the woman got out of her car to wait near the door. It was raining a bit, so the man inside pushed the door open for her, though she had made no move to go inside.
Now, there was no way I was going to go in there with two other people, so I decided to keep waiting in my car. As I turned to look at my phone, I thought “Oh, I’ll just do what she did when he comes out.” Then I stopped. I remembered my own discomfort at having someone behind me in there, and then I thought about #yesallwomen. For her, for this young woman who probably hadn’t seen 25 yet, it may well take on a different dynamic. To be in an enclosed space with a strange man on a gray day may be something more than uncomfortable. So, I decided to stay put.
Of course, as I whiled away the next minute or so on Instagram, two guys walked from the other side of the building and let themselves into the vestibule. My first reaction, naturally, was “DUUUUDE!” After that, though, I could see the nerves written all over that girl’s face. I don’t think she was genuinely worried about her safety, nor do I think she had reason to be. It was still daylight, the room was all glass, and there was a camera in the ATM. Nevertheless, I saw her obvious discomfort from a new perspective. And in the same vein, it was easy to imagine how much more comfortable she would have been had those guys let her have the space to herself.
Revelation 21:4 says “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” The comfort and relief in that promise is huge and real; those are big issues we all deal with. But equally so is the thought that, with the passing of the old order, small moments like today’s will cease to exist. This world can be a harsh, unfair place. It is filled with violence and fear that makes a young woman worry during a routine errand, but that’s not all this world is about. The conversation of #yesallwomen happened, is still happening, and that’s something in which to find hope. That will just have to tide us over until the promised new order becomes reality.