My bus is stuck in the mud this week. Fear, the bus driver, doesn’t seem to be very confident of getting out of this mess soon. He appears to be paralyzed by the situation. Maybe not completely idle; is wallowing an action? He has provided food and drink for those of us along for the ride, but the thought of eating quickly brings Nausea to take the seat beside me. She allows me to drink, but no food, as she threatens and squeezes my stomach tight. Exhaustion has gotten on the bus in the last few days and urges me to “just sleep it off” until the bus gets going again.
I first started riding this bus last October, exactly six months ago today, on a chilly harvesting evening. I had driven myself, not on a bus, but independently in my car, to a meeting at church. I had been in the meeting for about thirty minutes when a call buzzed through on my phone. Words echoed I didn’t want to hear, “He’s down; paramedics are working on him, but it doesn’t look good.”
Despair was my bus driver that first evening. I quickly sat down by Hope and told Fear to sit in the back, away from me. Despair flew down the road way too fast and without his full focus, but Nervousness and Anxiety wouldn’t allow him to slow down. Even I cried out for him to hurry. Please hurry.
By the time Despair frantically pulled the bus off the road onto a grassy bank, it was dark and my husband was gone, lying in the field of soybeans he would never reap.
I rode the bus home that evening without BestFriend, feeling alone for the first time in 48 years. I don’t remember that ride so much, but I think Shock was holding my hand.
Since that fall evening, I have kept a daily journal of who’s on the bus with me; who’s driving and who’s just along for the ride.
The wheels on the bus go round and round…
Apathy and Sadness are the regular drivers, but on occasion, and much to everyone’s surprise, Hope shows up for a day or two and drives like crazy. My seat buddies have become my new friends. I need them because I find myself pulling my old friends onto the bus, but then Lethargy and JustCan’t quickly push them off. My old buddies are confused and don’t come around the bus as often anymore. So, Lost, Alone, Isolation, and Dread always save a seat for me. There are also a couple of new kids, Envy and Anger, riding the bus in the last few weeks. I’m just getting to know them. They aren’t very nice, and I’m not sure I like them. But they are bullies and sometimes push Kindness away and sit down next to me.
My husband’s birthday was a couple of weeks ago, and I took the bus to a Lake Michigan Bed & Breakfast for a few days of respite. I thought I would pamper myself. But Memories and Loneliness wanted to share my room. I only lasted 24 hours before I caught the bus back south. I told Sadness I just needed to be home.
I rebounded after a few days, and Encouragement sat right in front of me — so unexpectedly. She was a breath of fresh air, and I delighted in the reprieve. But almost as quickly as she came, she jumped off the bus without saying good-bye. Before the bus door closed, Depression climbed on, with darkness in his eyes and a sleeping bag under his arm. He camped out under my feet for days.
I’m weary of the bus. How long will I ride?
The wheels on the bus go round and round…
I’m not sure where they’ve gone, but Independence and Excitement have been away for a long time. I miss them. Hope says they’ll return some day. I’ll be glad when they come back because I need them beside me when I push the door open and step down the steps.
Now that I’ve been a regular bus-rider for six months, NewMeaning has begun to notice me, and comes sits behind me every now and then. She offers suggestions and ideas that perk my interest. Mostly she just mentions one or two things, but a couple of times, she has been quite insistent. At her urging, Inspired has enrolled me into a grief writing group and I’ve taken up my pen again. It’s hard to write about Pain and Grief. They don’t like me to be honest. And honest isn’t for Everyone. That’s why Everyone doesn’t ride the bus. But I’ve actually engaged Vulnerability on this and in doing so, Bravery, Transparency, and even Healing have been on the bus recently. They’re fun and carefree and so interesting. I hope to get to know them better.
I don’t know from day to day who’s going to show up on the bus or how long they’ll ride, but I can always count on Confusion. She gets on first almost every day, and we have become good friends. Another rider, Determination, has noticed me lately and taken up my cause. I think she feels sorry for me, but I like her anyways. She has counseled me to look for Hope and Encouragement when I take a seat. “Sit next to them. They’ll be good friends. And Gratitude, find her; she’ll never let you down.” Yes, Gratitude! I know her! I’ve been with her a few times. She’s amazing. She always brings Lightheartedness along with her. They are incredible and so easy to be with.
That sounds like good advice. I’ll be looking for them in the morning.
…and the wheels on the bus go round and round.