Adventures on Bus 132, Volume I: ‘See Ya’

By BRIAN MARSH

Adventures on Bus 132

time and time again, i’m reminded that amidst all the BIG things that happen in life, it’s the small things that often have the most powerful impact.

and i’ve had some BIG changes occur in my life over the past several months.

including one very special season that only last a few small weeks, but contained some very BIG life lessons.

vocationally, I went from leading a community that meets in a place like this…

First Presbyterian Church in Missoula

to driving a community that meets in a place like this…

School bus

i transitioned from a calling that involved a lot of communication that looked like this…

Pastor Brian Marsh

 

to one that included a ‘pulpit’ located primarily right here…

Brian's new pulpit

i adapted from a life where i spent a lot of time trying to ‘handle’ this…

The good book

to days that were mostly filled trying to ‘handle’ this…

Behind the wheel

for a guy who has an easier time finding an obscure poetic quote for a newsletter article than finding the gas tank on a bus, it was a surprising and surreal adjustment to say the least.

i’ve spent most of my professional life dealing primarily with words, using a couple thousand in the span of a twenty minute message alone.

and I suddenly found myself serving in a way that requires maybe two dozen words at most. for the entire DAY.

i’ve invested a lot of my energy, heart and time helping others as they wrestle with the nitty gritty details of their lives, their most intricate and intimate experiences emotionally, relationally, vocationally, spiritually.

and i transitioned into a rhythm of life where i spent my time transporting students with special gifts and needs, of whose life stories i knew little more than their names, addresses, and moods at the beginning and end of their school days.

and this required a shift in my overall focus…

fewer words, and more action.

less pontificating, and more presence.

less focus on the BIG picture of life, and more attention to the small moments of the day.

in the process, I came to recognize how words alone rarely tell the full story of what’s going on inside a person.

one of the students i drove (who i’ll call Theo), a hulking young man with an overly active imagination (and at times an overly salty vocabulary), had walked past me every day that i picked him up from school, barely acknowledging my greeting whilst always muttering something to himself or the others in the back of the bus. same story as he exited the bus near his house. for a person with special needs, he was surprisingly interactive interpersonally and basically friendly. he just hadn’t really acknowledged my interactions with him or even made eye contact with me.

until one day.

when i dropped him off, he rumbled down the aisle right past me as i said, ‘have a great day, Theo…see you tomorrow’, down the steps and out the door.

but before i closed the door, he stopped, turned around, looked me straight in the eye, and said something. to ME.

‘see ya.’

a small thing in the grand scope of life.

but a BIG point of connection and acceptance for both of us.

and a BIG reminder to me of how much in life i’ve missed because of myopically focusing on what i’ve thought are the BIGGER, more ‘important’ things like my future, my career, my vision of what life ‘should’ be, rather than allowing attention to the smaller things that make up the life i’ve been given here and now broaden my scope and widen my perspective, and deepen my experience of the journey of life as it IS.

fewer SPOKEN words.

more LIVING words.

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To see more of Brian’s writing, check out the Brian Marsh main page here at Make it Missoula. And for even more, check out his personal blog, Apocalypso Now.

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i’m a wanderer and a wonderer. a percussive and paradoxical pastor who exists happily (and hope-full-y) at the intersection of doubt and faith, living with my unique and special family (my wife, Kirsten, and sons, Ian and Trevor) in a unique and beautiful place (Missoula, Montana). restless and lazy, usually amazed, always in process, i’m continually surprised and usually delighted at discovering the extraordinary in the ordinary, the ‘sacred’ in the ‘secular’, the shafts of light that sneak into the shrouds of darkness. i drum decently, surf poorly, love multicultural food, music, and community, and living in the‘Zoo.