Monday, August 27, 2012

Heaven At The Back Of A Bus

She sat alone at the back of the bus, her eight-year-old legs swinging freely from the green vinyl bench seat.  For close to an hour every afternoon they took the same road from school, through the hills filled with expensive homes where the other children lived, until her stop came at the end of the route - the entrance of a modest trailer park.
An hour is an eternity when you’re eight going on nine.  At first, she talked and giggled with friends on the lumbering, noisy vehicle until, one by one, they each grabbed their books and jumped down off the wide bottom step, disappearing behind large, gracious front doors.  Then solitude settled in beside her as, together, they finished the ride down the mountain.
But there was a song in her heart.  She was always singing.  And silence on a deafening bus was an invitation free of curious eyes or mocking faces.  So she sang at the top of her lungs, accompanied by the ever changing gears of a diesel engine, her little heart bursting with joy at the freedom to be herself.  Every afternoon from 3:30 to 4:00 she found privacy at the back of a yellow school bus.
She knew every verse of each hymn she sang.  From The Old Rugged Cross to Standing On The Promises, she poured out the love in her childish heart to the God Who rode the bus with her every day.  With each burst of emotion in her warbling young voice, the words of His love sent roots deep into her heart, assuring her in unshakeable innocence that she was held tightly in His arms.
It was beautiful.  It was holy.  And years later, when loneliness threatens or mocking eyes laugh, Solitude calls her to the Arms waiting to hold her again through another long, raucous journey.  At the top of their lungs, in a world full of noise, they sing.
They're in heaven at the back of a bus.

(Photo courtesy of Chris Breitenbach,