I’ve been getting to know my way around the city here Santo Domingo. Before I was familiar with it, I would take a taxi everywhere. That’s easy because a $15 taxi ride in Boston is only one dollar here. But now I’m getting a better feel for the buses and how I can walk. So the other day, instead of taking a taxi from the bus terminal to the downtown park, I decided to take the bus.
So, I find a bus that has the right destination sign, and get on. I look over, and everyone on the bus is seated on the left side. The reason is because the sun is coming in the right side. It is very hot under the mid-day sun here, and when you’re on a bus that is not moving, you want to stay out of the sun.
So I took a seat on the left side like everyone else, and waited. And waited. And then the bus starts to go slowly after all the other buses get going, and that’s because the bus driver doesn’t want to leave without more passengers under the hot sun side of the bus. The buses here are all privately run, so they make all their money from the passenger fares. So, we are creeping along and creeping along with no wind coming through the windows, and the bus is slowly but surely filling up. A large woman comes and sits next to me with her daughter in her arms, pushing against me so that I’m squeezed into the seat. So finally after a while, we get a little speed. And then, stop. Turns out, traffic is heavy. So we stop and go, stop and go, and the bus isn’t getting any cooler.
About 15 minutes of this goes on until finally, we arrive at a stop where a whole bunch of people get off, including the woman and her daughter who had me squeezed into the wall of the bus. I can finally get a little breathing room, and take up my whole seat, when suddenly, a young man comes and sits next to me. What??? There are about 15 empty double-seaters, I’m talking double seats with no one, and the guy chooses to sit next to me in the hot weather where you can hardly breathe. It’s like being the only person on the beach and someone comes and sits next to you when they have an entire beach empty – and then add in the hot-cramped factor. So now I’m getting annoyed. And this time, I’m not gonna let anyone squeeze me into my seat. So I hold my ground against him. If he wants to put up with the cramped space, he can go and take one of the empty 15 double seaters.
So, we are moving along slowly as usual, and finally we reach a stoplight. And we wait. And wait. And wait. And now, I’m starting to think, “Why didn’t I take the cab???” and I’m thinking, “I could get off right now and take a cab.” And I wrestled with this, and kept waiting. And we still weren’t moving.
Finally, I had it. I decided that’s it. I got up, excused myself from my neighbor, and stood up out of the seat. For a brief moment, a short flash of an instant, I looked at one of the empty 15 double seaters. But no. I knew what I had to do. I had it with this hot bus thing. I gotta get off this bus and walk or cab it. It’s time to go.
So, I didn’t take the better seat. I got off the bus. And as I crossed the street, I looked at that bus and noticed something amazing. Both it, and the bus in front of it, were going NOWHERE. All the traffic was moving around them, and the light was green. I was so happy I got off.
So I asked a gentleman walking by, “Sir, can you tell me where the Central Park is?” He pointed up the street, “Right there.” It was less than a block away. I had gotten off at exactly the right spot! I was sooo happy I had gotten off the bus.
So why am I sharing this story? Because there’s something important in it. See, there was something inside of me that moved me, that said, “Enough is enough!” It was my gut. And I listened to it. And I got off the hot, cramped bus going nowhere and landed right where I was supposed to be. Because I listened to that voice inside.
I think God gives us that inside voice to guide us. We can’t see the whole picture. We don’t know that the bus we’re on is going nowhere, or we don’t know that we’re right at the spot we need to be and it’s time to leave the bus behind. We need something to guide us. God gives us that voice inside of us. He gives us our gut.
If you’re in a situation where inside you’ve got this voice that says, “Enough is enough,” don’t be afraid to act. God gives us that voice to guide us. You’ll be out of a situation going nowhere and you’ll be just where you need to be.
Don’t be afraid to get off the bus.
Listen to your gut.
Out of Egypt have I called my son. (Mt 2:15)