I only needed a few things from the grocery store. As soon as I got out of the car I heard the thunder. Hurrying through the store collecting my items I overheard many conversations about the impending storm. People sharing how they had come through it only to know that they would be facing it once again when they left. Some were hoping the power would stay on so that they could actually cook the food they were buying. Others were regretting
even coming out in the first place. And I was somewhere in between all of those places, just trying to get out, get loaded up, and get home.
I was making pretty good time, too. Until the school buses turned onto the road. One by one the three that were in front of me was reduced to one. Together we turned on my street, still 2.3 miles from our house. (We've measured it. When you live this far out you have to reassure people that they are not lost and they only have 2.3 miles to go until their destination).
At the first house, the STOP sign went out, the lights came on, and all I could see was a pair of little tennis shoes on the ground outside the door. Right then and there I knew that my heart was won and that God had slowed me down just for this. He was joined by two other kids and they rounded the front of the bus with mixed enthusiasm. One ran, one walked, and one seemed reluctant to leave the bus and stood waving at the driver. At the door of the home was a woman wearing a smile as wide as the driveway and arms opened to greet all of them. I don't know if they are all three hers, but right then they were.
The scene repeated itself for about half of my journey. There were moms taking pictures of the little ones, probably kindergartners, as they exited the bus. One mom even had her child return to the bus steps to capture just the right shot! There were grandparents, dads, neighbors. Some kids ran into open arms, some merely walked up as though it were just another day. But at every stop there was someone that had shown up just for the sole reason of being there for a child. To love them. To welcome them. To offer comfort and kindness.
As I write this, the storm is raging. Wind, rain, loud rolling thunder. And I am so thankful that each of those children is safe.
Our God is there, as we get off our "bus." He is waiting to love us, to welcome us, and to give us comfort and safety. Our day may not have been great, but when we greet Him and ease into that precious place of peace that only He can offer, it's as good as milk and cookies after school.