A new perspective. I’ve heard the phrase my whole life. Does it mean to look at something from a different angle? Or is there more to it than that?
I was born, went to school, grew up, got married, worked almost 40 years, and then retired. I thought that was, for the most part, all there would be. I was retired and I thought I would stay retired for the rest of my life until I died. And that was the way I saw life. But then something happened.
My wife and I went through a time of financial trouble, as nearly everybody does in their lives, and I started looking for work again. Now I knew that it would be really difficult to convince anyone to hire a fat 66-year-old guy for just about any job. Then I saw the ad for the school bus company. They were looking for drivers, and they needed them badly. I went out and talked to the people who run the company, and was shocked that they had any interest in me whatsoever. In fact, when they learned that I was interested in driving school bus for them, they basically offered me a job right then and there. All I had to do was to pass a few tests, take a physical and get a medical card, go through the training and pass the final test to get my commercial drivers license. And I did it. I now drive a school bus, five days a week, three times a day.
So what does this have to do with a new perspective, you may ask.
Well, I am sixty-six years old, and spent the last five years not working. Now I have passed through that time and have emerged on the other side where I am working once again. I am not at the end of my life (as far as I know). And I see things differently now.
As a school bus driver, it is my first priority to ensure that the children on my bus are delivered safely to their destination; and after that, my aides, myself, and my bus. But wait…there’s more.
As a school bus driver, I see the children, and I see their parents. I see the conditions under which they live. I see the sweet little boys from the trailer house, their parents working hard to provide for them. I see the little boy whose parents were refugees from Africa, who are of another religion and who are fearful of persecution in this strange, cold land. I also see how excited he gets when he sees Christmas decorations. I see children of divorce, trying so early in their lives to find their way. I see the single mom, who sobs in the arms of one of my aides when she fears she will lose her job because she has to stay home and take care of her little daughter when her class at school is suddenly cancelled without warning.
I see my aides, women who often are of only moderate means, working hard to make ends meet; a single mother who is allowed to bring her little daughter along to her job on the bus so she will not have to pay out money she doesn’t have for daycare; a woman in her third marriage, whose husband would like to retire, but the money is simply not there and who must frequent the local food shelf to stay alive. Other aides I have had are similarly poor. The people who own the bus company are happy to give jobs to these women, knowing they will work hard, take pride in their work, and be an asset to the company.
I have an aide who is not afraid to pray out loud in front of me on the bus, knowing that, even in this darkening world, I would never condemn her or turn her in to any “superiors” who would remove her from her position if they knew of her prayer habits, her trying to live Jesus’ life before the children. She has inspired me. She has made me realize the poor condition of my own prayer life. She knows I often join my heart with hers when she prays.
After so many years of my life, I know the importance of praying. James 5:16b (KJV) says, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” I can’t pretend that I will ever be able to do a lot for these children and for my aides, monetarily. But this thing I know, that I can pray! I can lift them all up to the throne of my Lord Jesus Christ who is in heaven, and He will take care of them. And I hope and pray that I will be an influence upon their lives, and they on mine. And in the end, when I stand before my Lord on that great final day, He will be able to say to me, “Well done, good and faithful servant! Enter into the joy of your Master!”