The Gift

daffodils 2“She’s mean, she’s always yelling at us.” Announces my daughter, regularly, when she gets home from school.

“It is hard to be a bus driver.” I reply regularly. I think to myself – “Why wouldn’t she be, a bus full of noisy kids, who do not listen.”

Have you ever been on a bus full of kids? The cacophony is enough to make you deaf. You have to psyche yourself up – look at the beauty of the noise – a challenge for anybody day in and day out at 8a.m and again at 3 p.m.

On the days that I put my daughter on the bus, I observe her interaction with the driver. Caroline grunts a small hello, the driver nods then looks at me, waves and closes the door. She does look mean and I would add tired. I never see her smile.I think she must hate her job. I have pretty much stopped making excuses for her and I simply wave back and get on with my day.

This morning, late as usual, we barreled out of the house to run to the bus stop. We could hear the bus coming and knew that if she did not see us she would not stop. Half way down the front walk Caroline spotted a bunch of miniature daffodils that had miraculously opened overnight. She stopped to pick one while I went on and on about missing the bus. I had an 8:30 appointment which I would miss if I had to drive her to school She managed to pick a flower and on the way told me it was for her teacher. “My teacher loves to get the first flowers!”

Just before climbing the steps onto the bus, Caroline asked if she should give the flower to the bus driver. I told her to do what she felt. (We have been spending a lot of time this year talking about listening to our hearts and feeling the nudges in order to make decisions.) I watched as Caroline climbed the steps thrust out her hand practically shoving the flower into the surprised hand of the driver. Caroline disappeared into her seat, carrying on an bubbly conversation with her classmate.

The driver looked at the flower, up into the rear-view mirror then back at the flower. Her face filled with a huge smile – she was beaming and beautiful. She looked at me – one huge smile with glittery eyes. At that moment, there was not a” mean bone” to be found in her body. The door closed and off they went.

I wonder if she yelled today. I wonder who else saw that smile and felt the love that reflected outward. I wonder if the kids on the bus felt what I saw and carried it into the school – a ripple effect creating imperceptible change. How long did it take before the gift wore off and she returned to Caroline’s perception of normal? Maybe it didn’t, maybe she saw the gift of God’s grace flowing into her life.

Why, I ask myself, was I in such a hurry? My 8:30 appointment was no longer important – I had witnessed how a small action can change ones perception of the other. Immense gratitude welled up inside me, for I had had a glimpse into the heart of God.


About ndmetcalf

Ninabeth is an artist, writer, consultant, and local pastor in the United Methodist Church. She earned a BFA at RISD and a MDiv at Drew Theological School. Her art bears witness to environmental injustice and seeks to express lament and hope. " I am striving for a new way of seeing, listening and speaking about God in order to bring about healing and wholeness. I am daughter, sister, partner, and mother. I am lament , witness and praise . I am servant, shepherd, writer, preacher and artist. I am permeable, trusting, stubborn and kind. I am Martha, Mary and Lydia . I am mystic and pragmatic. I am a believer that “words make worlds” and little seeds of kindness grow and grow. I am community; family, friends, KUMC, Ridge & Valley, and the more than human. Above all, I am a child of God sometimes broken but always blessed."
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