Sitting on the Bus

I met a beautiful, wise woman yesterday. She told me a story about how it was for her 10 years ago.

It was a tough time in her life. She had recently left one habit behind, only to find herself in another. The fallout from her latest habit found her without a driver’s license for several months, so she took the bus to and from work.

Sitting on the bus.

“When you take the bus, your life revolves around the bus’s schedule, not your own ideas about how things should go”, she told me. You’re no longer calling the shots.

“When you take the bus, you’re forced to surrender.”

You wait at the bus stop until the bus shows up. Sometimes it’s there when the schedule says it will be there. Sometimes it’s early; sometimes late. The bus doesn’t care what time your first meeting starts, or that it’s raining on your freshly curled hair. The bus shows up when it shows up.

On the bus, you sit. And wait.

You don’t get to take the shortcut you know about, or duck down side streets to avoid traffic. You’re at the mercy of the bus’s large, slow moves. You have no control; there’s not even the illusion of control. You go where the bus goes.

Sitting on the bus, you submit. What else can you do? You’re just along for the ride.

She told me how incredibly happy she was in her bus riding days. How inexplicably, oddly free and joyful she felt in those days. Happy for no logical reason.

It really didn’t make sense. She had lost her own freedom (in the form of a driver’s license, anyway). She was under punishment. She was trying to turn her life around.

And day in and day out, she was sitting on the bus, knowing she wasn’t in charge of anything. Surrendering. Just sitting, on the bus, being steered through life. All she had to do was jump on. The rest was taken care of.

She gets it now.

She doesn’t need to sell her car and give up driving. It was never about the bus or the strangers or not struggling to find a parking spot.

She was with herself on those bus rides. Not her controlling thinking, or her attempts to make things go her way.  Just herself. The “her” she hadn’t been with for long time.

She found herself, sitting on the bus.  And she learned to let life drive once in a while.

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