Why Am I a School Bus Driver?
It took a lot to get me here, in the Kansas City area that is. I was a Lead Pastor for 25 years for crying out loud, and before that a staff pastor in two great churches for 7 years prior. Before that I was in college, studying to be a pastor and working as a layman in a local church. You might say that I was called to this life of ministry; called to be the man of God that the Lord created me to be. While I could write a book on all of the things that I have done, the places I have been, and the people that I have met; in the end, this life really is but a vapor. I am not complaining, it’s been a good life and a good ride, and I am glad to have lived it. I wish I could go back, knowing what I know now, and make a few changes; avoid a few pitfalls, and not hurt a few people along the way; but alas, this is the way of things, living and learning. I did good mostly, and the Lord was with me all of the way, even in the dark times. I am reminded of that old poem, Footprints in the Sand; you know the one where Jesus carries us during the hard times in life. That’s my life for sure. Carry on wayward son.
My last post was my best post, 22 years in G-Town where Debi and I raised our kids, got them through school, and launched them into life from. As it turned out, they all decided, one at a time, with their spouses, to move to a city in the Midwest, in the Kansas City area, called Lee’s Summit. It’s a conservative city of about 100k people in a 100 square mile area. The local economy is good and there is a lot to do, see, and grow here. They are all doing well for themselves, making their own families, building their careers, and creating lots of memories along the way. It wasn’t rocket science for Debi and me to relocate nearby as we wanted to share our lives with them and their kids, our grandkids, of which we have six, two of which are still in the oven at the time of this blog. Both of our sons’ wives are great with child. One is due in November and the other in February. One is a boy and the other, a girl. That will make it boys 2, girls 4; so far.
I wasn’t able to land a job as a hospice chaplain, so I took up working side jobs and doing some maintenance at a local Christian school. I am also an interim pastor for our district when called upon; currently I am on assignment in a little mining town about an hour from my home; Rich Hill, MO. I decided to take up driving a school bus for the local school district in our city; it was either that or becoming a school police officer, but I feel that my cop days are behind me. I drive a big bus with air brakes and a flat front. I have three routes, the middle of which is always changing. I get the kids to and from school on time and safely, that’s the job. It’s not that I don’t mind the drive and such, it’s just that I thought that by this time in my life I would be a little more established and such. I am glad that I can work, and I do the job well. The middle of the day gives me 4 hours to do other stuff, like my side jobs or whatever Debi has for me to do on her endless ‘honey do’ list. At least I speak her love language, ‘acts of service.’
For a guy who is looking for the Rapture to happen tomorrow, I have a lot to do, but at least I can barely pay the bills. I have been a blessing to those I have embraced, starting with my wife and adult kids, their spouses, and their children, our grandchildren. I enjoy my pastor and friend, Dennis Luce, and the church he pastors where Debi and I attend when I am not interim-ing somewhere. I have signed on with the local police department as a chaplain and have managed to get a few ride-alongs. I have worked with some of the locals in their time of need as the PD has availed. There’s a lot of broken people in this world, some of them live in Blue Springs. I am not much for overeating as much as I am for overworking, but it all leads to one inevitable outcome, death. This is why I am looking for a Rapture tomorrow and why all of my blogs point in the direction of the sky. Is it just me or are things getting a little crazy out there.
We’re on the brink of a lot of things happening, and none of them good. Nuclear war is dangerously close, a global economic collapse is imminent, and it would seem that most folks are completely oblivious to the fact that we are eating last year’s food. I am not a calculus professor or anything like that, but me thinks that if Jesus doesn’t get here soon and pick up His Church, we’re headed for some rough waters. I try and be optimistic about these sorts of things, which is why I believe in a pre-tribulation Rapture; however, more importantly than that, I am not afraid to die and actually long for it like the Apostle Paul did in his day. Don’t get me wrong, I love my life, it’s a wonderful life, and one that I am thankful for and glad to have lived. My point in this blog has more to do with ‘how did I get here’ than it does, ‘what am I doing here?
I am driving a school bus, does anyone find that interestingly different for a guy like me? I should be running a company or playing golf with a bunch of retirees at the local country club or something like that; and I don’t even play golf. I think that when I made the decision to move to Missouri from Los Angeles, I left a culture behind that has since degraded to a point where the locals don’t notice as much, but I can see the damage from here. The lack of water, the lack of governor, and the lack of moral fiber in a state that was once the place to live if you could afford it. Now it’s a place that continues to spiral and is in desperate need of Jesus.
The pastor that succeeded me in the church in G-Town (Gardena, CA) where I pastored for 22 years is doing a great job, I am so proud of him, Pastor Kevin Moore, and all that God is doing through him. He is about the same age I was when I first became a Lead Pastor. Let me tell you, it’s been a life; a good life. If I could do it all over again, and know what I know now, I would do it a bit differently. I would be a bit more intentional and make better use of the down time. It would seem that a steady run of mowing lawns and mending fences in my adolescence would have led up to an interesting career as a military cop in the USMC. From there it would have been on to a police academy for a local PD near the school, SCC, where I did my undergrad work. I would have stayed clear of the lady folk until I caught up with Debi and then moved forward with her, again, intentionally. In the end it would seem that I end up just as well, as long as Christ is in the center of it all, and He has been, both in my life and the other life that I will never live or need to live. Last I checked we only get one trip through.
I recently visited LA for my 40th High School reunion. I have been to my 10-, 20-, and 30-year reunions. All I can say is that we are all getting older, and some of our alumni are dying off. The reunion committee decided to host a 45-year reunion as a result. I really enjoyed being with all of them; they’re good people, many of them are believers; all of them need to be. Some of the ladies who were lookers in the 70’s and 80’s are now the grandmas of the teens and 20’s; and all that it entails. If you look close and deep enough, you will find those teenage girls in there somewhere, looking to get out and play a bit. I find that with all of us, we long to become the youngsters we used to be, except with the exception of perfection that only Jesus can provide; and He has.
I am concerned for my buddy Mago, who is retired LAPD and enjoying life as a single man, never married, and who has a lot of toys and guns. I shared with him the nearness of the Lord’s return and resourced him with Dr. David Jeremiah’s latest book, After the Rapture. It’s a survival guide to the seven-year tribulation, one that I hope Mago reads before it’s too late; he really is a great guy. Of course I have been trying to win him to Jesus since high school. To EHS class of 82’- Jesus is coming soon, get saved today, but if not, don’t take the mark!
In other news, did I mention that I am up at 4:30am every morning. My alarm is set for 4:45am but I get tired of waiting. I spend time with the Master in prayer, reading, or just meditating with a cup of coffee and the dogs. By the time I get to the bus barn, I am ready to roll. I pre-check my ride and head out to the first stop where I pick up a bunch of zombie high schoolers who are as checked out as they are into their cell phones. It’s a quiet ride to say the least and they are appreciative of the lift; it would be a long walk for them otherwise. The second batch of kiddos are in Jr. High, and they are nestled together in a small midwestern suburb where I pick them up in groups, avoiding light poles and stop signs with the big cruiser bus. Once I get them to school, I am off to pick up the little duffers, these are kindergarten through 5th graders; they are by far the cutest darlings you ever did see. I make sure they are safely transported to school like they were my own grandkids. By the time I finish my route and return to the bus barn, it’s time to go to work at my other job, construction. I find myself building, fixing, and repairing things that are broken, in need of creation, or otherwise not there yet. That will take me into the afternoon where I return to the barn and get big bertha and recollect the students, beginning at the HS, then the JRHS, and then the ELEM. By the time I get them home and return to the barn, it’s time for me to get back to the job and finish what I can, even in the dark and cold. I end up back at home where I fellowship with the wife and reset for the next day to do it all again. Why Am I a School Bus Driver?
In the end, Jesus is coming soon, and when He does, all of this won’t matter, but for now, it does. Let’s hope that I can find my comb before my hair runs out. Until then, I have to walk my dogs, check on the laundry, and prepare for the next sermon.
By the way, the PD called, and another person killed themself, can you roll out to the scene to assist? Of course I can, I took my vitamins today and I will take them again tomorrow, it’s prayer and the Word of God, coupled with a men’s multivitamin and a lot of water. Oooh Rah!
I close my ‘Why Am I a Bus Driver’ blog with my Rob Lee’s top ten bus driver quotes:
- Be nice to the bus driver, it’s a long walk home from school.
- Being a bus driver is not just an job, it’s an adventure.
- It’s big, it’s yellow, it has flashing red and amber lights, what part did you not see?
- I watch 40-60 screaming kids in a mirror while driving a 40 foot box on wheels, what that heck!
- If you don’t drive a school bus, you’ll never understand. #schoolbusdriverlife.
- Bus drivers are like truck drivers, except our cargo whines, cries, and vomits; a most precious cargo.
- I am a school bus driver, what’s your superpower?
- I ask God for patience, He made me a school bus driver.
- I am nor crazy being a bus driver, I am crazy because I kind of like it.
- I never dreamed I would be a super cool school bus driver, but here I am, killing it everyday!
Encouragemen is a blog written by Pastor Rob Lee, recently relocated to Northern Missouri. He lives with his wife of 33-years, near their three adult children, their spouses, and children (their grandchildren). Pastor Rob is an Ordained Assemblies of God minister, a former Lead Pastor (25 years), police chaplain, and community advocate. He continues to serve, consult, and disciple men of God, including those who are in the ministry.
One thought on “Why Am I a School Bus Driver?”
You’re the best bus driver those kids could ever have!
You sir are not just a bus driver, you are a man of God with so much to offer the kingdom of God!!
Thank you for driving a bus!