I have a long standing relationship with the yellow buses called “Ceres”. It’s a love-hate relationship. I love them because they take me to places I need to be in but hate them too because they leave me with no options. Talk about monopoly!
For as long as I could remember, bus rides play a role in my memories. When I was about 8 or 9, I remember my father telling me and my younger sisters about a long bus ride we were going to take to see his parents. It was going to be a 3-hour ride. Roads were terrible back then and travels were long. I remember vomiting in the bus. But I don’t remember my parents being uncomfortable about it. Years after, I dreaded the vacation for fear of vomiting again in the bus. I was so anxious that at the moment we would hop on the bus, I’d tell my father I was gonna vomit right away. Haha!
I outgrew that fear of bus rides in high school. I was 15 when I first traveled alone. I endured a 2-hour bus ride to spend the summer with my cousins.
My fear of travelling alone was addressed in college. I went to a university in Manila and stayed with my Uncle and his family. They lived an hour and a half by bus from my school. And traffic was just T.E.R.R.I.B.L.E. I had to leave by 5 am so I won’t be late for my 8 am class.
But it was during those bus rides when poetry started dancing in my mind. My mind wandered as the bus rolled through the coastal road in Paranaque. I didn’t have the luxury of owning a phone when I was in college so my lines were crookedly written in a tiny notebook that I had handy.
When I started working, Monday bus rides were dreaded but a late Friday night ride home was all I looked forward to the whole week. And that longing to be home intensified when I fell in love.
Love. Yes, that too had its own share of bus ride memories. I once packed my resume in my suitcase and took an 8-hour bus ride to Cebu, with the intention of starting a life where love blooms. The promises of warm embraces and that “soon-to-be blissful morning” were all I have in my bags. After what seemed like the longest 8 months of my life, after a long afternoon talk with the man I have loved for years, I headed for the bus stop. On a cold January night, I packed my suitcase along with my broken heart and headed home.
Bus rides never stopped amusing me. I have had my best moments and best cries, too, inside the bus. Since I moved back home, I constantly travel to Bacolod for my appointments. Everytime I look at the landscape or the intricate designs of the clouds, I can’t figure out why men still deny the presence of God. its awesome how God reveals himself to me in those moments.
But I also had my irritating bus ride moments. Like, when I was teaching at a Bible School for two semesters, every Tuesday I’d take the bus down there and the ‘konduktor’ would always drop me 50 meters way past my stop. It was always by mistake despite my constant reminders. Then there were times too, especially on a Friday night, when the bus would be so full you could hardly move and the rain would pour down hard. Naturally, they’d close the windows and bam…my claustrophobic self would then be in tears.
More than once, I had commented on how I love bus rides except the part where it reminds me of my singleness. (Especially when I overhear lovers' conversations...and sometimes, their phone conversations too. Haha!)
Bus rides have also played a great role in my ministry. I travel most times via bus. Once, I traveled 4 hours to speak to a group of pastors. There were just 12 of them. At times, the bus takes me to appointments with hundreds, and once a thousand or more.
|This the bus ride we took to Caramay, Palawan during a |
mission trip to the Batak Tribe in 2010.
This post is inspired by a recent bus ride I took to speak to over a hundred young people last Friday night. I spoke about LOVE. It was amazing to watch these kids burn with so much passion for God and spend their time and energy worshipping Him. On my way home, though tired and sleepless, I couldn’t help but think about it. Then I was reminded of what I spoke about:
“Greater love has no one than this, that he gave his life for his friends.” John 15:13
The cross was not a bus ride away, yet he came.
And so I thought, all these long bus rides are worth it. All these long, bus rides alone are worth it. They are nothing compared to what Jesus had to go through.
And oh, we can never tell, love might also just be a bus ride away. *wink*