Well, it has been a really long time since I last wrote here. Since April my words have found a home in other spaces. In East Asia, my words belonged in a black journal that I carried around everywhere or, when I wanted to share my experiences, on the small postcards that I gave to my friends. It was strange to not document my experiences. Before I left I could not imagine what it would be like for people to not know my thoughts or experiences.
When I returned to the States, I stopped writing in my little black journal. With a thesis to tackle, and essays to write, my words lived in my computer or scribbled down on a nearby napkin. My words also made there way into other people’s homes in the form of thank you notes, and, believe it or not, my words even sat on other people’s couches as they traveled through the air!
And so, out of all of the places my words could live, I am writing here because I think it is important that this blog is their home.
Because I live off-campus this semester, I frequent the bus. I know the many faces of the 656 bus drivers. While most of them are kind (although a few are a bit sassy), sometimes I am fortunate enough to hop on the bus with the sweetest bus driver. And this is why: at every stop, she smiles and tells people to have a wonderful day.
For anyone who rides the bus (or has ever taken a crowded, smelly bus) this is out of the norm. For the most part, people don’t look at one another. They don’t talk to one another. And they most certainly don’t encourage one another.
But she does. At every stop, on every day, she loves people well.
Today I found the courage to tell her thank you. Before my stop I slowly made my way to the front of the bus to encourage her. When I did, her reply was simple and genuine: “I love people.”
Her response was so simple and so profound. So easy and yet so hard to execute.
I wish I valued people more than feeling comfortable. I wish I loved without expecting anything in return. I wish I made my stupid, mundane tasks exciting and joy-filled because I looked less at the task in front of me and more at the people surrounding me.
At one of the stops today, after encouraging everyone who was leaving, she talked to a family that was sitting on the bus bench, waiting for another bus. When the father saw she was stopping (not knowing others would be getting off the bus), he gently put his hand up to inform her he would not be getting on. And when she started to speak to him, he did it again.
I am sure he did not expect to be treated with kindness and conversation. And why would she? She has her job to do. She has to transport people to and from places. She has a schedule to maintain.
To me, her job is so much more. She isn’t just a bus driver. She is a friend. An encourager. A person that turns bad days into good ones, or at least hopeless days into hopeful ones.
I wish we did that more. Will you join me in loving people well?