We spent the last few days of November and the first few days of December packing and saying goodbye. That was probably the most difficult move that I have ever endured. The situation was difficult, but there were plenty who cared. We shed tears, hugged, and parted
I was able to keep my composure pretty well, until I said goodbye to one man. Over the course of our time there, he had our family over so many times I can’t count. He welcomed us into his family. He and I spent a tremendous amount of personal time together, sharing concerns, studying the Bible. He and I became best friends.
I was able to keep it all together until I had to say goodbye to him. The tears didn’t just roll. I felt like a blubbering baby. This man was one of the closet people to me. He became a preacher’s close friend. Not many are willing to do that. But he did. He let me share my heartaches and pain. He was a true and dear friend.
But we had to depart. The time had closed. We climbed in our vehicles. I drove the moving truck back to Texas, two long days on the road. We arrived back in Texas around December 10 or 11, and unpacked at my brother’s house. He and his family were gracious to house us.
Somewhere before the middle of the month, I was able to visit my grandparents and parents. During that time, my grandfather expressed his interest in what happened, and he didn’t want me to suffer loss of faith because of the events. But he asked why I quit. My answer was somewhat elusive, but simple: it seemed the right thing to do.
About that same time, I visited Oak Hills Church. For those who don’t know, there is a long history of that church and my religious heritage, the last part of it not pleasant. I went there knowing that my religious heritage had a problem with it, but I wanted to see what the hubbub was about.
After service, I met and conversed with the minister, he is well known and written numerous books. We spoke about me being a minister. I don’t recall the specifics of the conversation, just that he encouraged me about my ministry. I wrote the following in my journal:
…for me the main things that stood out [from our conversation] was his statement to take a break from ministry and take a job, perhaps one below my capabilities, in order to recover from the ministry. He expressed his concern that if I went [back] into ministry [too soon] that in six months I would be right back in the same situation.
Here is another minister, having no knowledge of me, no knowledge of the men and women that have helped me, and told me essentially the same thing, even aligning with some of my own reflections. But I didn’t listen. I applied for ministry work. God permitted nothing to come of it.
In December, I applied to several companies, and even had a possibility with a company back in Indiana. Those did not come to pass.
In January, I applied to several companies. Nothing had yet come to pass. One day, while I was driving into San Antonio, I saw that a local school district had a sign advertising that they needed bus drivers. I inquired. I applied.
On January 21, 2010 while I was in a different company’s waiting room, I wrote the following in my journal:
Here I am… waiting for an interview, have been [here] about an hour and while I am waiting, I was reading my journal. Interesting stuff. But not so interesting either.
It seems that God tries and purifies everyone he calls to minister – I do not want to resent it, but why does it feel so difficult?
I am really hoping that sometime between July and September God restores me to prosperity. Being concerned, but trying to not be concerned, about our finances – has been the greatest struggle. When one sees the money dwindle and no immediate work is available to provide income, the mind does not become an ally.
But as of today, I am wondering what I am to do. It seems that the bus driver position that I applied for last Friday is a job that is mine to lose – because all I have to do is pass CDL certification.
I passed my CDL exams and became a Commercial Driver, Class B. I was hired. I had my orientation February 17, and I began driving in March. It seems strange to me at least, that I began my bus driving career by staring during the week just prior to Spring Break.
Yet at the time, somehow the significance of me driving a school bus escaped me. I was not given any ministry work. No secular employment came through. The very thing that my brother dreamed was exactly what I began to do, and did for three years, which I intend to discuss later. It even aligned with the advice the minister gave me take a job beneath my capabilities to rest and recuperate.
During that time, I was reading a book and taking notes. I also made notes about church and was brainstorming about church ideas. I also published several articles regarding Theology.
During that time we also visited Oak Hills for several weeks. During that time, the same minister that I conversed with presented a lesson series about grace. The timing of that event could not have been better, for the lesson gave me a needed component to wrap up my discussion about theology, and presented thoughts and ideas that resounded very personally.
Even though the school district hired me, I was able to meet with a Professional Career Management Firm in March. That was a very enlightening time. The opportunities they presented where, to say the least, global. In all complete seriousness, I was looking at international career possibilities. That was the first time that had ever been presented to me.
I completed their information. They gave me an intensive interview to see what I wanted and where I wanted to go. Truth told I knew that if I turned down the opportunity being presented to me I just might not ever get it again.
Here I was unemployed, but employed. I was in a situation where I could go and do just about anything I wanted, my wife willing to assist and encourage me. I prayed on it. I meditated on it. I reluctantly turned it down, for no other reason than I could tell that my heart wasn’t in it. I just couldn’t drag my family into something that I myself could not jump into with both feet.
About the same time as I was speaking with the Professional Career Managers, I applied to Austin Graduate School of Theology. I was accepted. However, based upon the financial needs to attend, I was not able to go. I have yet to be able to go, but I there is part of me that would like to have a degree of this type.
Now, as I look back at the course of events, as much I as didn’t want to, it seems that God was making sure that I became, and remained, a school bus driver.
Blessings and Shalom