(Guest Post written by Karen Shimer)
I was having a rough week.
Down, overwhelmed, challenged, a bit sad.
I was out on a walk in a Beaverton neighborhood at 7 am.
A school bus rounded the corner and stopped, ready and waiting for his first passenger. I looked down the street to my right, a short block ending in a cul-de-sac. Two people were on their way up the steep hill: A middle aged dad and more than a few steps behind him, his middle school son, coat hanging from one arm, backpack hanging from the other. His progress up the hill was slow and the father kept prompting with encouraging, breathless words. I couldn’t hear what he was saying but he wasn’t angry, just urging.
I looked to the bus.
The red lights were flashing, the door stood expectantly open.
I had a clear view of the driver. Gray hair, beautiful smile, patient energy. He waited with kindness.
Our eyes locked for a moment and we each sent compassion into the air for this late middle
school boy. “Been there, done that” we breathed silently at the same time.
I crossed the street at the top of the cul-de-sac, walked past the bus and shot a grateful
look to the bus driver as I glanced in the open door. About halfway down the next block, I turned
to look back. The dad was leaning in the door, talking with the driver while his son got settled in
a seat. I took one last look at the flashing red lights and walked on, blessed with the richness of
God showed up there. For that boy and his dad. For me. The waiting bus, stopping the
whole world for the time it took to get up that steep hill. The patient driver and his glory-ous,
peace-filled smile. I’ll wait for you. Patiently. The rest of the route, the rest of the world can wait
til you get here. There is enough…time, patience, compassion. There is a place for you on this
bus. The red lights will flash until you find a seat and get settled.
I had been thinking about the story of the Lost Son in Luke 15.
He set off to find something he couldn’t find at home. He wandered to a distant country and tried all the things that money could buy and those didn’t help him find what he was searching for. He came to the end of himself there and decided to try home once again.
What he didn’t know until he got there was that the trip to the distant country
had changed him and he might actually be able to find what he was looking for at home.
He left the distant country to find his way home.
I didn’t need to get on the waiting bus. Thankfully my school bus riding days are over.
But I have carried that smile and that peace and the image of those flashing red lights with me
since that encounter. I have found a new, deeper place to live when days are hard and the
overwhelm begins to unravel my peace.
Psalm 138: 3, 7-8
"On the day I called, you answered me, you increased my strength of soul…
Though I walk in the midst of trouble…you stretch out your hand,
And your right hand delivers me. The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever."