I stand and wait for the 64 bus. It’s early in the day, and though the weather people promise a hot one, in this hour a cool breeze and bright sky makes for a beautiful morning.
In cities all over the world, people rely on public transportation. Throughout the day they wait for the buses, trains, ferries, or other modes of transportation that will take them to jobs around the city.
And none of us think much about the drivers, until something happens to make you think about them. The bus squeaks to a stop at my corner and the driver presses a button to open the door. I step inside and I immediately remember this bus driver.
This driver is the one who waits. He is the one who takes the time to look down the street. If he sees someone running, he will wait. Others leave without a thought. After all, they need to keep to their schedule. But this driver is different. He waits. I first met him in the winter, when massive snow piles covered the sidewalk, making walking almost impossible. He saw someone running. Running in that cold, icy, weather. And he waited. The bus was packed, but he still fit one more person in.
I thought it was just about the cold. But then, a month later there he was again, and someone else was running. And he waited. By this time, the sidewalks were clear and snow was beginning to melt.
And when it happened a third time, I knew that this driver was different. He is the bus driver who waits.
It’s a small thing, but it’s huge to the person who is running, the person who he waits for. It makes all the difference, for if they don’t make their bus then a domino effect goes into play. They arrive late to work, they have their pay docked, they flounder.
In my faith tradition, we talk a lot about we humans being made in the image of God. We hearken back to those beautiful Latin words – Imago Dei. Sometimes just the words take my breath away – they are so big. But they aren’t mere words, they are a theological truth, they are a concept to live by. When we see humans as made in the image of God, then they are worth waiting for. We care about what happens to them, whether we know them or not. And we do what we can to connect, to offer hope, to walk with them on their journeys. We don’t condescend to their every whim, but we do make our relationships count in light of eternity. Because we believe that we are made in the image of the God of that eternity.
This bus driver? Does he believe we are made in the image of God? I have no idea. But I know he waits. He’s the bus driver who waits, and it is a gift.
Someday I may be the one running, and I will get to thank him for being the one who waits. Until then, I ask myself – am I one who is willing to wait?