I don’t care how long I live, I’ll never enjoy getting up and going outside in the dark on a cold, damp winter morning to crank up a cold, diesel-powered school bus. There is literally nothing pleasant about it, from the pre-trip inspections in the dark to the unwelcome loud noises and alarms that accompany starting up the engine; it’s like a Monday morning every morning.
Furthermore, cold mornings are worse when you have a cold – like when everything aches, your head hurts, you have no energy, and a box of Kleenex is your friend. This morning was one of those mornings, but at least I only used two tissues.
My morning started off cold, dark and depressing, but it did get better. However, before I get to the happy part, I have to give you the back story.
This year a little girl named Helen started riding my bus. From the very first day I noticed that she was very shy, very quiet, and non-emotional. I would say, “Good morning,” but she would never respond, only look at me and pass by.
Little Helen, just a first-grader, I believe, always wore the same clothes, at least for the first few weeks. At one point I began to wonder if the little blue uniform dress she always wore was all the clothes she had. Then one day she walked out of her house and stepped onto the bus wearing a bright, covered in flowers, happy yellow dress. I had to comment.
“Wow! That’s a beautiful dress you have on today!” I exclaimed. Then the little girl stopped, looked me in the eye, smiled, and went on to her seat. She didn’t say “thank you,” or anything, but she smiled, so that was progress. But now, guess who always says “Good morning, Mr. Baker” “Have a great day, Mr. Baker,” and “Bye-bye, Mr. Baker”?
Guess who drew me a picture of a flower?
The Morning Got Warmer
Well, this morning, still feeling sick and a little bit discouraged (did you read yesterday’s post?), I came to little Helen’s house. Like normal, she ran out her door as if she knew in advance I was coming down the street, even though I’ve never figured out how she can tell, since there are no windows facing the direction from which I arrive. On one arm she carried her book bag, while in the other hand she carried a plastic bag a fourth her size.
Helen climbed the stairs into the bus, handed me the bag, then said, “Merry Christmas, Mr. Baker…This is for you. It’s all for you.” Shocked, I said, “Well thank you! I appreciate that!” Then she reached across and put her arm around me and said, “I love you, Mr. Baker.”
“I love you, too.”
Sometimes when we feel discouraged, God let’s us know that we really are making a difference. It’s not such a cold day, anymore.