It was 12:58PM on a frigid February afternoon. I had just boarded a crowded Mega Bus on my way to visit my daughter way upstate. The ride would be a little over 4 hours long. The bus was packed. I had the good fortune of not having anyone sitting next to me. I was so glad because the seats were kind of narrow and 4 plus hours is a long time to be uncomfortable.
The bus driver’s voice came over the loud speaker announcing that we would be pulling out in 5 minutes. I thought to myself ‘This is great! I can put my bag on the empty seat, and read and listen to music in peace.’ I was all set. Then, about 30 seconds from being home free, the driver lets on a family of 3. Immediately, I knew one of them would sit next to me even though there were a few other empty seats.
As this young girl walks up the aisle, I could see the disdain in the faces of the folks she passed. It broke my heart that they were making it obvious, but I understood. As she made her way toward me, I felt my heart both sink, and flood with compassion all at once. Of course, she sat next to me.
I was now very cramped and fumbling all my things. So much for my comfy ride. As I sat there, both angry and ashamed of being angry, I began to text my friends. I shared how annoyed I was at having my peace disrupted. I felt sorry for myself. But as I kept going back and forth with my friends, my whole way of thinking changed.
I smiled broadly any time I could sense her looking over to me. I engaged her in small talk. We made a stop for the restrooms and I picked up some snacks to offer her. Her reaction to me was enough to make you weep. It was as though she had never been shown kindness. She kept apologizing for the tight squeeze. That ripped my heart apart.
I knew before the ride ended why she sat next to me. I knew that God sent her to one of His people so she could be loved and not made to feel ashamed of herself. I felt so loved by God because He trusted me to love on His daughter. I imagined if I had not treated her so, the shame I would feel when I stand before Him.
I thought about the times I may have been rejected because someone has as little an opinion about me. Sometimes folks don’t know your story, yet they make assumptions about you based on your appearance, rumor, preconceived notion, or just a plain old mean spirit. This day forever settled that with me.
As we got closer to our destination, I felt more of a liberty to ask this young lady about her faith. She beamed as she told me she was a Christian and very active in her church. I thought of the bible verse that says ‘So then, as we have occasion, let us do good towards all, and specially towards those of the household of faith.’ Galatians 6:10.
But, what if you don’t know they are of the ‘household of faith’? Then, just be kind always! Plain and simple. It’s not complicated. I think I feel strongly about this because I have been on the receiving end of rejection. I never want anyone to feel that way because of anything I say or do to them.
So, folks, at the end of this life-changing bus ride I felt like a million bucks. I thanked God silently for giving me the privilege to sit with His precious daughter and share His love with her. I’m better for having had that experience. It taught me a great deal about my own heart and how different it is from God’s. It reminds me to be kind even when inconvenienced.