This column is a follow-up to my Adventures In Shared Housing

Life Story Bad Time God Moments Posted February 28, 2015

After fifteen months of living in an awful neighborhood, Merriman Valley was a welcoming change of scenery.

It's remote enough to be full of trees and wildlife, but not too far away from any stores or restaurants. It is so peaceful and quiet here that my mental health recovered rather quickly. My new roommates brought me up to date with some of the newer video games and tech toys around. I was able to eat healthier and do more activities. I just felt better here, and I was enjoying myself so much that I didn't mind the fact that I was a little further away from many other things that I was connected to.

That was, until I realized that my car wasn't going to survive another winter, and I had little other choice than to cut my losses with it. Fortunately, I was still located within the Akron METRO busing line.

Ah yes, the public bus. I had to get used to riding with a bunch of different people from all walks of life. In a city that tends to be geographically segregated, I think it’s notable to see all sorts of people on the bus. It certainly got me outside my comfort zone. Riding a bus can come with a few enlightening surprises. I once knew a driver who would occasionally offer a quiz over the PA system, and the first person with a correct answer would be rewarded with a bus pass. I would often have a Biblical discussion with someone, and it wasn't unusual to have many other riders join in and participate. Someone would occasionally start singing a song, and as much as half the bus would end up singing in unison.

I also had my share of unpleasant surprises. Tick it off the list: Unruly couples that really needed to get a room. Morbidly obese people eating chicken from a jar of mayonnaise. Intoxicated elderly who refused to bathe and reeked of cheap cologne. Thugs doing drugs off a sheet of tin foil. The same unruly couples screaming and breaking out into a fist fight the next day. The list goes on.

With that said, I was just thankful I had a ride to and from work, even if it was on a schedule that wasn't my own. My life became very spontaneous, and I was actually enjoying it for a while. Since I was longer paying for insurance, repairs, and gas, I was pocketing the difference. I even enjoyed the little strolls after getting off, because they gave me an opportunity to soak in all the small stuff I passed by without a second thought. There's a lot you miss while you're driving.

Things seemed to look really promising when I was hired as an Administrative Assistant at a new church in West Akron. I assumed I would have an easier time saving up to get another vehicle, but to my surprise... the exact opposite ended up happening. Now I needed transportation to and from two jobs nearly every day. Most buses weren't available on the weekends, so I had to ride a taxi a few times a week as well. I could barely even enjoy the place that I was paying rent for. Not only that, but it's incredibly expensive to not be home for long periods of time. I tried to save money on eating out, but you can't expect to look like a million bucks from eating off the dollar menu. The amber foliage of autumn soon started to give way to the icy monochrome arms of winter. I would get sick if I spent too much time out in the cold, and it got to the point to where it was a weekly ordeal. Moving to another place was out of the question. Quitting either job wouldn't helped my situation. Getting pre-approved for a vehicle by credit unions and banks took away what little time and sanity I had left. I was effectively trapped in survival mode, and I couldn't get myself out no matter how much I tried.

Then I had an uncle visit me at work one day. It was years since I had last seen him. I wouldn't think after my family got divorced he wouldn't hold a long conversation with me, let alone offer to help find a car. But sure enough, he did. He even paid for it and did some work on it.

This was another enlightening moment in my life. Much like how I became content with a minimum wage job, only to be gifted a promising career within a church. Much like how I was content being single, only to be blessed with an amazing woman who continues to bomb me with love. Many of us will continue our chase for money, respect, possessions, and power... only to soon realize that the sense of accomplishment, always seemingly within reach, was proverbially nothing more than a carrot dangling from a stick.

When people say to "pray until something happens", something absolutely will happen. It just may not come when we would want it to, and it may not be what we expect at all. I believe the whole point of my bus riding days was to get me to recognize Jesus as more than a savior. He is an artist, offering a refreshing new vision to those who have taken things for granted. How can we appreciate His work when we have our eyes fixed on our own path?

I may be driving again, but I have to remind myself daily whose trip I'm really on.

And with that, this is where I get off...