I had decided to turn my life around after using drugs for many years and decided I would really give it my best shot after the other 2 times didn’t work. So here I am leaving the rehab facility and I’m on the bus traveling downtown and the bus stops to pick up a traveler. A young black girl gets on the bus and she has these long braid extensions in her hair and she’s very loud! I used to be very loud or, so everyone always made it a point to let me know how loud I was – and I’m still loud today when I’m passionate about some topic or when I’m not.
Any who, I find myself unable to stop watching this young lady and listening to her rant and rave about an incident with her son. She goes on and on with no regard for the other passengers on the bus. Just yelling and screaming and it occurs to me I can’t see who she’s talking to or if she is even talking to anyone on the bus. Well it would appear she is not talking to anyone or maybe no one is listening. The most puzzling thing that happens next is she get off the bus at the very next stop – I mean one block away! I said to myself, geese she could have walked that distance and save us from hearing her rantings about her son. Yea! she’s gone and off we go to our next stop – the drama some folk have with them!
At the next block the bus makes a loud machine-like noise and my first thought is, oh no the bus is breaking down, I don’t feel like walking or waiting for another bus. Much to my surprise the bus has a hydraulic system that allows the driver to lower the front end and allow the steps to convert into a ramp. In my infinite wisdom I had no idea this could happen – well I had not been a regular bus rider since I was in high school – scratch that since junior high. I was not aware of what was going on with the bus until I saw someone enter the bus on a wheel chair with a little boy. I thought to myself wow – technology sure has changed. You see when someone is on drugs their world becomes composed of about a 4-block radius. The place to purchase the drugs and the place to use the drugs – anything else that goes on in the world is of no or little importance.
The woman in the wheel was an older black woman and she had a look on her face that caused me to stare. I found myself unable to turn away from her face – much like I did with the screamer. Something about this woman drew me to her. At first I had no idea why, I’ve seen many folk in wheel chairs before and have felt sad, disconnected or have had great empathy for them. This day, this day is very different. As I continued to try to assess why I was so engaged with her I noticed something amazing. I looked at her and I thought based on her face alone, this woman was not born with this affliction, this was something that happened to her somewhere along her own “bus ride” whatever it was, however it happened it was well with her soul.
The odd thing that happened next was we traveled to the very next stop and she too like the loud girl got off the bus immediately. I’m thinking what is this, The One Block Bus Tour? Don’t these folk know I’m trying to get home, it’s a lovely day, it’s Friday and I have things to do, folk are getting on and getting off the bus when they could have ridden or walked one block! Why didn’t they walk or ride the one block?
I’ll tell you why, remember how the first young lady reminded me of myself just before I decided to turn my life around – loud and saying nothing of any relevance. The second lady – was a vision of what God had shielded me from in my active addiction.
One evening, I was at a friend’s house and folk were playing poker after the poker games were over I collected the “house” money (money for each game of poker played) which was mine to keep. I was ready to go and do that which I had become accustomed to doing – use drugs! My friend was very opposed to this idea, he was so angry that since his tone was not a deterrent to my desires – he thought he would reach in the nightstand and take out the gun and shoot at me. I suppose he thought that would deter me – no not really, I am a former Marine, if you can’t aim don’t shoot was my motto. That coupled with forces I was unfamiliar with at the time – I felt I had to go, in the works of Frears, S. (Director). (1988). Dangerous Liaisons [Film]. USA, “It is beyond my control” is what addiction feels like. At that point in my life nothing short of death was going to sway, hinder, deter or stop me from achieving my goal.
…meanwhile back on the bus, I thought to myself – God has just showed me how much He loves me even in the muck and mire. I was so very glad I had to opportunity to get on that bus to get a mirror image of me before and after if I had chosen to stay on that dangerous path a – Bus to No Where…
King James Bible
Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink: let me be delivered from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters.