Sunday, November 02, 2008

BUS STORY # 106 (You Need A Busload Of Faith To Get By)

I’ve just scored a seat on the Rapid Ride, up on the platform facing the aisle in front of the flex. The guy on my right turns and says, “I was talkin’ to this guy and I thought he was gonna beat me up.” He doesn’t wait to see if I’m gonna ask why. “I was telling him about God’s plan.”

It’s been over two years now, and one of the real surprises of riding or waiting for the bus has been the absence of street preachers and end times prophets. Now, for the second time in two weeks, God has appeared on my bus.

The first time, He let me just listen in. This time, He’s obviously decided to engage me directly. He’s speaking through a young man – 18, I find out later – who explains to me in a less than linear fashion how he came to be saved.

It seems he was hanging with a bad crowd in high school. He was doing drugs, and he ended up dropping out. But the drugs weren’t the worst of it, he explains. It seems they were dabbling in something darker. All I can think of is “the Dark Arts.” Whatever it was, he says God told him that he was in trouble here, and his companions meant to do him harm.

He says he first thought he was doing some kind of mind trick on himself. Gradually, he came to understand it really was God who was warning him. He found himself weighing “mind, spirit, mind, spirit.”

I ask if this revelation came out of the blue. Yes. Well, he had been going to church Sundays. Well, and after school some, too, but he wasn’t taking it seriously, wasn’t respecting God.

The spirit grew, and it outweighed his mind. He separated himself from his companions and began a new life. He started by moving out of his home.

How long ago was this, I ask. Last September – no, last November. And how did his parents feel about his moving out? He wasn’t living with his parents. His parents aren’t together. His mom lives here in town, but he wasn’t living with her.

“She can’t take care of herself. Well, she could, but she can’t. Know what I mean?” I think maybe I do.

He was living with his grandma. Was she a problem? No, not really. He offers no further explanation. Instead, he tells me he may not have any money, but one thing he knows for sure: his heavenly Father will take care of him.

Turns out his heavenly Father is helping take care of him by providing him with two jobs. He’s a door-to-door cutlery salesman by day and a dishwasher by night. The cutlery job isn’t going too well, although he thinks it will. He thinks this is something he might be good at. He wonders if we might set a time for him to show me his cutlery. I dodge that, and he lets me get away.

He lets me get away partly because he’s insecure. It’s not just about the selling of knives, either. This particular salvation has not come fully loaded with instant peace and joy and certitude. Right now, his faith is like a flashlight in the fog: The only thing he can see is the light itself.

He’s extending God an awful lot of trust here, and he reminds me a little of Peter standing out on the lake. He’s nervous, not quite sure what he’s doing here and struggling against the knowledge that he ought to be under water. Mind, spirit, mind, spirit. So far, his head is still above water. He tells me he knows all of this – being out on his own, the cutlery, the dishwashing -- it’s all part of God’s plan.

We talk a little about the frustrations of not being able to know what the plan is. He likes knowing how things work. Mushrooms got him interested in figuring things like this out. But mushrooms were just taking him deeper and deeper. “Know what I mean?” This time I don’t.

He tells me he knows he could be doing better. Like his dishwashing job. They’re on his case because he’s too slow. He thinks he could be faster. He thinks he might be lazy. He thinks maybe this is why God gave him this job. Makes sense, I tell him.

I ask him if he’s thought about going back to school. He really hasn’t, but he thinks he probably should go back to school, or at least get his G.E.D. “What do you think I should do?” he asks me. I tell him I can’t answer that for him. He is clearly uninspired by school. He says his real desire is to witness to others.

I leave him at Lomas and Wyoming, but I think about him afterwards for quite a while. He’s young, vulnerable, lost and – except for God – alone. I think about the two of them, and I hope neither one of them lets the other one down.


Blogger JM said...

Lovely on a Sunday morning. Thanks.

6:37 AM  
Blogger Busboy said...

Thank you, JM.

6:40 PM  

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