Getting On The Bus

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The phrase stepping off the curb. These cliches are wearing me out. This one I have heard hundreds of times. I have grown weary of the phrase. And yet, there is a thread there that I am pulling at, yanking at for understanding.

It requires an act of the will and movement of some kind. Sometimes I’d rather not. Because I risk getting run over or fatigued or stuck in the middle of the lane unable to cross over or I might change my mind and there is no turning back or the curb may cry the siren’s song for me to please come back to her.

The curb is rounded and safe and protective. Yes, the curb calls out comfort like a womb.

There are strange things to find comfort in as humans. Sometimes it’s routine, the familiar and quiet. Sometimes it’s being surrounded by a false sense of safety and controlled variables.

And then came the buses. For me they were and are some sort of metaphor on wheels. They are rolling worlds on wheels where I am not in control. The bus is moving whether I like it or not.

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I got on a bus last year and rode with a group and my daughter a thousand miles or so. You can read about it here and here. It was part of the Art Bus Project. When I got off the bus I cried. The experience branded me, marked me and changed me.

When has the act of stepping off ever left us unchanged. When has walking into uncertainty left us untouched by experience. When has deciding to trust not at least held the potential for an increase in faith.

My accountability partner is going to Haiti in a few days. I thought I was going too. My heart was prepared last fall. But I am not on this team, not on this trip, no flying into the Caribbean blue for mission work.

I am going to Disney World. There is a part of me that says is this a good time to get all four of my wisdom teeth extracted because that would be less challenging.

My achilles heel, my vulnerable place, is a sleep-deprived me. I am vulnerable when I am exhausted, worn out, tired, and foggy headed. So I try to live in a place where I am armored up. I strap on the heavy metal of clear-thinking and rest.

And I seem to think that I can tackle the world guns ablazing when I have had the sleep I need. But what if in my weakness He is made strong. What if when I am most vulnerable He has room to move and shake me from my slumber.

What if when I am wounded broken sleepy lamb He is Shepherd with a strong crook to steer me and guide me.

So I signed up for Dare To Do Disney In A Day with my growing up kids’ youth group. We will board a bus at 10:30 at night, drive all night, arrive at The Magic Kingdom (why do they have to call it that) when it opens, and leave when it closes and drive back all night and arrive at home on Sunday morning. Ok. It makes me tired just to say it and write it.

I am not going on a mission trip to a third world country. So I cannot ask you to pray for me. I would much rather you pray for my friends from church who are going to Haiti. But wait. I can. I will be chaperoning a group of middle school girls. Yes, yes, please pray that God uses this time and blesses it for good.

I have a friend who is deathly afraid of clowns. I wonder if buses are my clowns. I wonder if I will run from all future conversations which involve getting on a bus.

Or will I run, flying off the curb and into the arms of the big bus, waiting to take me off to a place of discovery, adventure and pure joy.

I am trusting the driver. And releasing the white-knuckled grip. At least for a day at The Magic Kingdom. (Why do they have to call it that?)

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Please pray for safe travels up and down that road on a bus. Eighteen hours of driving.

And that there would be Joy. And laughter. And that they teach me, these children and that I hear it and get it. And that I would have something for them too. That we would use every minute to learn and love and live fully.

We have to laugh a little about the differences in our travels, H and I, my confidant and accountability partner. My prayer partner and keeper of all my secrets. She will be going up a rocky road to La Gonave, Haiti and I will be on a Charter Bus to sunny Orlando to spend a marathon day at Disney.

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Funny thing about God is He will be in both places. Touching children, touching lives. And changing a 53 year old women who likes to stay home. And building memories for a mother and a daughter. I won’t be assigned to my daughter’s age group for the day. And wisely she said, “Mom, you will love being with those middle school girls.”

I seem to learn most of my most important lessons in life from children. I am going into the classroom on Friday night at 10:30, a big rolling classroom of kids. And yes I am packing ear plugs for use maybe on hour eight of the drive.

And maybe in some small way, I am being refined and changed for my “one day” trip to Haiti.  Or maybe like Abraham, the Lord just asks me to be willing to serve there. Maybe He needs me to ride a bus down I-95 instead. And be with my daughter and her youth group friends.

And hang out at the other Kingdom.

Fear

Today is Day 16. The collective can be read here. I am joining The Nester for the remainder of October with other 31 Dayer’s .

I don’t even want for fear to have its own title, headline, place in bold, upfront in this series.

I want nothing to do with fear, for I have given enough space and time and energy to it already.

Writing about it is even painful.

But isn’t that giving in. Letting fear sap energy. Tremble knees. Shake confidence. Rattle senses. Muss up the mind.

Isn’t fear numbing and paralyzing when it gets any room in a life.

It is greedy and boorish. Demanding and a bully. It saps Joy, drains the good, pulls the plug and lets hope rush down the drain like dirty bath water filled with bubbles of maybe.

Just maybe writing of fear, restores Hope. Writing of fear and meeting it head on pushes it back, meets it head on, faces it down.

Fear has erased days and bound me up. It has named seasons. It has defined seasons of  unknowing, of infertility and waiting years to add children to a family, by birth and adoption.

It has crippled in seasons of waiting for a husband to return, after a season of separation, marked the days dark and long. Tried to wrangle all life out of the days of healing, to rename me the one whose husband left. Fear says failure and brokenness rather than Hope and Security.

Fear takes the good plans of God for redemption and restoration and leaves you frozen in unknowing, hopeless, hope dwindling and the self demanding an answer now, the self commanding and controlling outcomes.

Fear robs the days left with a child at home, when the self chooses to demand to know the future, and it demands to know it will be labeled good by the world’s standards, good by the description of the self-focused soul.

Fear teams up with frozen and frightened and steals the hours and days of a life with a power that is unbroken, but for Jesus.

When healing and His redemptive love restore a Hopeful, Trusting Heart, the fire of fear is doused and diminished. And the pile of ashes is blown anew with a Spirit of new-life and radiant restorative re-birth.

The days of waiting on children’s birth, marriages restored and even financial struggles to end are marked by a wholeness from leaning hard into Him and softening the stone-cold places that fear and trembling have made tough as a frozen tundra. Made life-less.

Anxiety and worry have fueled enough days, with OCD re-routing a life ,bound it up in chains, set the heart on a new gear worthy of a NASCAR winner. Chased me round and round,  like a pack of rapid dogs. Spun me round, dizzy, like a child on a playground whirly gig until nausea and fatigue take the weary spirit to the ground.

Fear fuels the tongue and raises the volume and chooses the words. Takes control when control feels lost. Shouts orders demands her way. Raises the blood pressure, raises the stakes, reddens the face, and raises the roof.

Who wins when fear is in charge and shouts at the top of her fearful lungs and blow her battle weary bugle – CHARGE. Who falls in line, follows? Who feels called in love to go her way. There are no winners when fear leads  the weary into the unknown places.

And slips into the night, commands the dreams and rattles the sleepy, gets you up to pace the floors at night, creaking lonely in the midnight hour, draining the life from a tomorrow. Re-naming the days to come as weary and hopeless.

Fear gets the title here. Fear gets a word in this 31 Day Series of Words, but only because Fear gives Hope an opportunity to do her best work, to come in and breathe a breath of new living and redemptions glory.

The reigns are dropped, the bridled grip on frozen frightened doubt and worry loosed, and Hope and Trust ride off on wings of eagles, bound for a life lived with glimpses of the glory of heaven.

Today I am joining the lovely Nacole at Six In The Sticks. She is writing on fear for 31 Days at The Nester. You can read more of her hope-filled writing there. And I will not let fear cripple my attempts to workout the technical glitches to guest post there. Still Hopeful. See you at Nacole’s, but still here.

Joining Eileen and Jen and Emily

Thank you for adding to the conversation by adding your beautiful words to the discussion. You bring so much more when your words are apart of this community.