I spent my early elementary years living in a small Illinois farming town where I took the bus to and from school each day. It was a long trek down the lane where I walked each morning to catch the bus. The schedule even varied from week to week. If it was the early route, I was picked up first. The following week, the driver would reverse the route, and I was picked up last. I’m sure I complained on those days I had to be at the end of our lane so very early, but I do have such fond memories of sitting on that bus.
I was the quiet one. I didn’t chat or laugh it up with other kids. Most of the time I had a book in my hands or rested my forehead against the cool glass and watched the countryside roll by. And what a beautiful countryside it was. Hundred year old farm houses and towering oak trees. Fields full of cattle, tractors plowing, planting, and harvesting. The glitter of freshly fallen snow, first signs of spring, and a kaleidoscope of fall color, always right there just outside my window.
Less than a year ago, I visited that same countryside. My grandmother passed away, and we were traveling from the funeral to the grave site. This time I wasn’t in a bus, but a mini-van. Thirty years had passed, but the journey on that road remained the same. It was probably the strongest deja vu moment I’ve ever experienced. Instantly, I felt a calm sense of still come over me as I rested my head against the glass and it all came flooding back. I remembered how I used to make up stories in my head about the houses and the people that might live there. I remembered stewing over fights with my sisters and dreaming about what life had in store. I watched the rain drops slide down the window and tried to guess which path they would take. I had time to see beyond the ordinary to the extraordinary taking place right before my little eyes.
My own children do not ride the bus. It’s a short 3 minute ride from our house to their school. I often wonder if they are missing out on that quiet time of preparing for the day and decompressing on the way home. It would be easy to look back and think, How many days of my life did I waste on those long bus rides? Lots of time, yes, but wasted time, no. I had a chance to sit, to reflect, to enjoy the beauty of nature, and to be still…couldn’t we all use a little bit more of that…
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10