Wednesday, February 08, 2012

I'm Just a Bus Driver...

Today I took my van to be cleaned out.
It hasn't been cleaned since before Christmas, so wow, it needed it. My mom had my big girls, so it was just Ruthie in the van, and she was NOT happy to be there. I opened the sliding door, and she automatically thinks it's time to get out. When I wasn't getting her out, she let me know very clearly that she was not happy with the circumstances. I went on to do the job as quickly as possible. Not fast enough for Ruthie. Eventually (meaning just having the floor of the passenger side vacuumed), I gave up and got her out of her car seat to set her on the floor of the van where I had just vacuumed, and tried to continue to clean. Not good enough. So I picked her up, attempting to do the job one-handed. Hey, sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do, right?
It was then that I met Byron. This, probably mid-50s, African American man who had been cleaning up his early 2000s model Chevy sedan next to mine.
He came up and asked if he could help me. Immediately I did what every average American does... I politely declined. He then said, "Well, I could just vacuum out your van for you while you hold her."
"I'm sorry?" I replied. Not really believing this perfect stranger just offered to vacuum my van for me.
"I could vacuum your van for you while you hold her," he said again.
"Oh... no, no you don't have to do that," why is it so hard to just accept help?
"Really. I'm off work today, I don't have anywhere to be, it's really no problem. I remember those days," he insisted.
I paused and thought this over while the Lord told me, just let him help you.
"Wow. Sure. That's really kind," I said as my over-emotional mommy self swallowed back the urge to cry.

So there I stood in the parking lot of the $3 car wash on Clinton Hwy, baby on my hip, while Byron vacuumed my van. Dumbfounded. Thankful. Hopeful that there are still kind people in this world. People in our nation whose lives aren't run by their watches, not too busy to notice the young mom struggling just to get the crumbs vacuumed out of her van.
Still though, I felt the need to apologize for just how disgusting my vehicle was. He laughed it off, told me he used to drive a mini-van, he had four kids himself. One he lost 5 years ago in a car accident. I had to swallow back tears again. No one ever expects to bury their child. We talked for a few more minutes, then he finished up in the back seat. He told me to wave if I'm ever out and I hear a honk from the city bus, because he drives for Knox Area Transit. He went on about how much he loves his job because he gets to meet so many people he typically wouldn't meet. He's met everyone from the mayor to tourists. He likes talking to the travelers. He was such a joyful man.
I sat there, perplexed about what would possess someone to clean my van for me? Surely he wasn't having to report back to someone about the number of RAK he could accomplish in a week. No. Just love. Just a simple love for people. Clearly, Byron loves people. He loves his job. A bus driver.
I'm sure Byron won't ever see a million dollars driving the city bus. His job may never earn him an upgrade from his early 2000s model Chevy sedan. He may not ever be considered successful in our world of money-hungry corporate vipers. But he loves his job. He loves people.
Byron reminded me of why I'm here.
The greatest commandment is to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind & strength. And the second is like it, to love our neighbor as our self.
God created us in His image, and He is a relational God. Perfect relationship exists in the trinity, so it is natural for us as humans made in God's likeness, to desire relationship. To desire community. To love.
I want to love well. I want to serve others: My husband. My children. My community. Because this is the example that I was given. Christ loved. Christ served. Though I know I will never do it perfectly, I want to lay my life down. To be selfless. To be remembered, if for nothing else, as someone who loved well. Only because this is what it's like to be a disciple of Christ.
Byron left me with all these thoughts today... and prayers, for him & for myself. I told him how thankful I was and how much it blessed me how he served me. I pray he knows the Lord. I didn't ask him, but some peace he left me with makes me think he does.
It also made me think of the (old) Caedmon's Call song bus driver. I've always loved that song because the statement it makes. "He's 'just' a bus driver, so what does he know?" But he knowspeople... his job is relationships. Just like Byron.
I don't know... just really thinking on relationships tonight... am I a blessing to others in my relationships with them? Like Jesus was? This is what it is to be missional. Living, loving, and serving like Jesus. Am I living like Jesus?

1 comment:

Rebecca Burgener said...

The kids and I cleaned out my van today. No vacuuming as we were doing it in a light rain while the van sat in the driveway before my husband left for work. But we did remove three grocery bags worth of trash, an uncounted number of toys, and a pile of laundry. (Yeah, it was bad.)

We'll be helping my in-laws move this weekend and needed room for their stuff. ;-)

What an amazing blessing that man gave you! I think there really are many good and helpful people around. Many just don't know how to help or how their help will be received. Byron gave a lovely example of how to step up!

Mama to Mama note: Target will be having a Dr. Seuss story-time this weekend. Don't know if we'll manage it with the busy weekend, but thought you might enjoy taking your kids.