Every Tuesday I take the Greyhound bus bound for Austin. I catch the bus at the station on S. Lamar downtown Dallas.
Sometimes it’s a bit sketchy. Recently released prisoners rely on Greyhound to return from prison to their preferred destinations. One time I overheard two riders share what they have been “in for.” Another time a wasted rider passed out while his white rabbit (yes, a live white rabbit) jumped around on the seat next to me!
I could drive but it’s cheaper to take the bus. Plus the bus has internet (doesn’t alway work) and a bathroom (usually works)- so I’m able to get three hours of work in before arriving in Austin. We pull into the station at around 4 PM. My sons pick me up and we head to their college apartment on Red River. Three young 20-year-old boys living in an apartment. Yup, you get the picture. I get my things around for the study and head off to teach (at Foodheads). I love the women God has brought to the study. Smart. Intentional. Kingdom focused. Searching. Wounded. Beauty. It’s all there. We’ve been talking about the Holy Spirit and I value the depth in which these women desire to go. No easy, pat answers will do.
After the study I head back to the boys apartment. Women have offered their homes to stay – homes I am sure are much more “conducive” to my comfort, age and gender – and I could always stay with Willie and J. Jayes’. Willie is one of my best friend from high school. He and his family live in Westlake – I could stay with them. But I insist on staying with my boys. It’s not the cleanest. There’s cats – 2 – they crawl on my head at night while I sleep on the couch. (My sons offer their rooms but it’s too much of a pain to wake up early, have coffee and tiptoe around while they are still asleep on the couch. Just easier if I sleep there.)
I think the early twenties are hard. It’s a time in life when we don’t really know ourselves all that well, a time when we have to figure out our future, get a job, start to acknowledge and deal with our baggage – we spend a lot of time focused on “finding our person” – it’s a time of uncertainty. My kids are all in their early twenties.
As they walk through these transitions I want them to know I am for them. I don’t want to get in their way – nor do I want to fix what I see is broken. My kids don’t always make the choices I would like them to make. Nor do they always live as I would want them to live. Some of you get what I’m talking about. A mothers’ heart aches when her kids aren’t “right.” It’s hard to be twenty and it’s hard for a parent to stand by, near – and watch them “work it out.”
Every now and then one of the boys will ask a serious “life question.” (Usually when I’m about to head to bed) About Jesus. About girls. About jobs. About their fears. In those moments I know staying on the couch with cats walking on my head is exactly where I’m suppose to be.
As I watch my kids I’m mindful of Jesus. I wonder how many times he’s felt like I do. How many times he’s sat in my dirty “dorm room” life! He could have chosen to be somewhere else that was more “at home” but he didn’t. He doesn’t. Metaphorically speaking “he sleeps on my couch.” I suspect, like a parent, he too waits for his self-absorbed child (me) to ask about the real stuff going on inside. He waits. When invited he speaks to my greatest pains, fears and insecurities. I can’t explain it but there’s something about knowing he’s there that is comforting, secure, assuring. He’s present even in the dirty places.
I will not abandon you as orphans (John 14:18)
Wednesday morning I try to fit in as many meetings as I can before having to catch the 2:30 PM bus back home. I help a woman work on writing a bible study, another woman talks through some martial issues while another helps me think strategy for The Marcella Project. At 2:15 the boys drop me off at the station. Once again I wait in line to get on the bus. My brain is tired but I know these three hours of work are precious so I vigorous hammer away on my computer. Finally, I see the Dallas skyline ahead. Time to put my feet up. The bus pulls in the station around 5:30. I either take the train up north to home or, if Steve’s in country, he will pick me up at the station. Either way I know when I get home – Amy, our housemate, will have prepared dinner. I love my work of ennobling women. Sometimes I find myself giddy because I get to do what I do. But I also love the stuff sandwiched in between work – the buses and college apartments – it’s all in the name of Jesus.