He turned off the lights. My heart—almost audible—frantic inside my chest.
I was twenty. He was old enough to be my father. Sitting behind him had been a decision of safety. Late evening approached when a hand-full of people boarded a Greyhound bus. The majority made their way to the middle and back of the bus.
Vacationing at the beach with my dad and family. We had driven down the prior Saturday. My dad decided to extend his trip, though I was leaving a few days later in route to Africa for six weeks of missions.
I went with my father to the bus station. “It will be fine.” he assured me. “People take the bus all the time.”
The ticket attendee gave us the travel schedule. My bus would arrive at 3:00 AM at a bus terminal where I would board another bus for the rest of my journey. There were no buses going straight through to my destination. I would have a three hour lay-over until 6AM. The person on the other side of the glass assured my dad of a bus terminal coffee shop for my secure and waiting pleasure.
Boarding the bus and scanning my choice of seats and neighbors, I chose the first row right behind the driver. Outside appearances seemed nice enough. Probably in his early fifties and maybe a daughter my age—he looked fatherly.
I assumed he was harmless. While he drove, we had a nice conversation about family, interests, and his life as a Greyhound driver. Pulling into the terminal where I would wait, I was the only occupant who stood to exit (besides the driver). The bus door opened, another driver ascended the stairs to take that bus to its intended location.
The terminal looked dark and deserted. My bags were retrieved and I was given the bad news, “We don’t open until 5 AM.” Standing on the sidewalk, luggage in hand, I watched the bus depart in the dark—a scene right out of a movie I’m sure I had seen before.
The driver I spent hours chatting with headed to sleeping quarters behind the bus station. Appearing to be concerned for my well-being, he suggested I wait inside with him (letting me know he could be fired for doing so).
Hesitant until a music-blaring-car barreled by. Off I went—inside with the bus driver. I sat in a chair. The room was small with basic contents: office desk, a few chairs, a counter top, and a cot. He looked over an itinerary.
“I’ll have to get some shut-eye” he informed me. A few outside lights peered through a small window in the now dark room. I could make out his silhouette on the small bed. Listening as he sighed and breathed, my heart racing.
Restless, he stood, striking up a conversation as he walked over to the window. Should I speak or pretend I am sleeping? I remained quiet. “Can I have a hug?” were his next words. Immediately sensing the danger zone for an assault.
Grabbing my suitcase, I made a beeline for the door. I found a pay phone (yes, they had those back then). I didn’t call the police (just yet). But I would be holding a phone in my hand for an emergency call if needed. I called a boyfriend I had been dating for a few months. (By the way, I married him.)
Holding the clumpy phone receiver in my right hand and talking to a sympathetic soul on the other end, trying to survive a few more hours. While there was no coffee shop, a place of secure and waiting pleasure was found in another attentive listener to my heart-cries. For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand, it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” Isaiah 41:13 ESV
5 AM finally came. The station opened. I boarded my connecting bus with a new driver I chose not to sit behind or converse with. I arrived home safe, I’m not sure about sound.
The night the wheels on the bus stopped going round, the Lord never stopped holding my hand. Whatever wheels have been spinning in your life or if your mind is spinning out of control. Fear not. God is holding your right hand and He is the one who helps you.
Do you know Christ? He wants to hold your hand!
© 2015 by Karen Friday
April 23, 2015 at 8:33 am | Uncategorized