For the first few days of this September, a bus would pull up in front of the Noel home. We have no kids, yet, and Nendir and I are not children (contrary to popular belief, haha). We figured that the prior tenants must have had a child on the bus roster. Nonetheless, the God of Jacob knows what He’s doing and unbeknownst to the bus driver, the “wasted stop” proved incredibly useful to me; it made me grateful to God.
Growing up, almost without fail, I would shake on my way to the bus stop, which continued until I arrived at school. The shaking wasn’t discernible, more like an inward tremor, but if someone asked I had a rote response, “I’m just cold”. A half-truth as I’m usually cold, but the shaking was rooted in my anxiety. School was tough for me, and I’ll have to leave out the details, but between 6th and 12th grade I’m confident I suffered with bouts of severe depression. It wasn’t pretty. That’s what made me so grateful about recently seeing this bus, not merely because I won’t ever step on one, but because:
1. My anxiety and depression aren’t what they used to be.
2. My perspective on my formative years are far healthier.
What’s changed? What’s made the difference? “Time” was the first answer that popped to mind when I saw the bus from my window. Right? The popular adages: “give it time”, “time heals all wounds”, or “I’m 27 now and by virtue of a clock, I have perspective.” No, that wasn’t it. It wasn’t consistent with reality. I know many my age and older who are still reeling from past hurts and hang ups. People who the years have seemingly left unfazed or worse off than before. It wasn’t time, so what was it?
Thinking it through again, I thought about my life in middle and high school: how busy I was; how much I achieved; how often I felt like life was just happening to me; and how little time I had or took to think seriously about myself. My thoughts were more centered on AP U.S. History and 5:30 practice. And that line of thought brought me to the cross of Christ.
The cross of Christ?! Yes, the cross of Christ. For all that I was doing at that age, I knew so little about Jesus. My mind carried very little Bible knowledge, and my heart none of the experiential. And yet, I was convinced that He couldn’t help me with this shaking and sadness.
Now, as I watch the bus pull away, my heart gives praise to God as I think of all the verses, Christian friends, sermons and Bible studies that have helped to make a healthier Dave through these years. That faulty bus stop helped me to not make an idol of time, but to praise God for the changes in my life.
By God’s grace, this Sunday at 10am, I’ll stand in front of some GRC youth and try to persuade them that not everything gets better with time but that the God of Jacob is real, loves them and when He’s involved there is hope.
David Noel, Jr. is GRC’s Director of Youth Ministry.