You know what I mean?
You’ve been right there, too. Telling the bus driver that this is your stop. You need to get away from these other people on the bus. Why? Well, just look at them!
Everybody on this bus is a little crazy. Some of them are more like: Craaaazy. And if I’m being really honest: Yeah, I’m a little crazy too. Sometimes more than a little. And I don’t really like where we’re all headed.
Let me off here, please.
You know what I’m talking about?
You get up in the morning in a good mood. Pour the first cup of coffee, settle into the stuffed chair, grab your cell phone and check your news app. More bombs. More bullets. More hatred. More religious craaaaziness. Another massacre on a college campus. Someone is refusing to serve someone else because they have different beliefs.
Are you awake now?
You go on social media. There’s a lot of good stuff there. A lot of other stuff, too. Stuff that makes you want to turn around and go back to bed. But you don’t. Instead, you put the phone down, clear your mind and thank the Creator-in-Chief for another day and ask for a little guidance on how to use it to make a difference.
You think about the people in your life and how you can love them today. You resolve to go out and touch other people’s lives, remind them that they’re beautiful and loved. You want to spread a little kindness, provide a little healing.
And then you shower and dress and go out into the world and the real fun begins. Someone cuts you off on the interstate. There’s a traffic jam and you’re running late. There’s no place left to park in the cheap lot.
As the day goes along, you’re reminded that it’s so difficult to live in a way that brings a little compassion and love and healing to the world. You’re reminded that everyone else seems to be just as insecure and confused and neurotic as you are. And it’s exasperating and infuriating.
Stop the bus, please.
It’s easy to feel discouraged, and maybe even a little guilty. Others seem to be making the effort. They seem to be committed to riding the bus to the end of the line. Me? I’m a reluctant passenger much of the time.
But that’s OK.
Many of us were raised in a religious setting that emphasized faithfulness. Of course, faithfulness is a squishy term. Even the most committed among us have those moments.
As one of the stories goes, Jesus had a stop-the-bus moment the night before he was killed, asking for the cup to pass him by. He wanted off right then and there. And his dear friends? They jumped off the bus and ran away from it as fast as they could. And when their leader was confronted, he said he knew nothing about any bus. Never seen the bus or been on the bus. Three times, no less.
Everybody gets off the bus now and then. And runs away from it screaming.
A better question: Why do we get back on it again?
Simple answer: It’s the only place where we’re ever really fulfilled. It’s the place we’re meant to be, and we’re reminded of it every time we leave it.
You get frustrated with everything around you, and then you see the smile on the face of a child and you think: This is pretty cool. You see someone who needs help and you try to help them and you realize: This is who I am. This is what I am about.
You realize that each act of kindness – given and received — brings a sense of the divine into your everyday life. You recognize that you’re much happier when your life is occasionally upended by the fantastic. And you appreciate that grace is fulfilling you in ways you never even knew you needed.
So you get back on the bus.
The bus driver? She welcomes you with a smile. And reminds you that you’ll always have a seat on this bus. In fact, she’s saved your seat for you, knowing you’d eventually want it back. Now, just enjoy the journey. And try to take care of the other passengers too, OK?
Even if they, like you, are a little bit crazy.