As we waited at the bus stop, a woman slowed her car to a stop, rolled down her window and shouted, “Hey! Are you going to the march?”
Jake and I had the three girls with us, and before either of us could respond, the girls happily told the lady we were. “Thank you!” she yelled. “I’m so proud of you all!”
A few minutes later, the bus turns onto the street and we were relieved. It was well overdue and we were nervous we weren’t going to make it in time. Then we saw that it was full. To the brim. The message flashing on the bus’ front sign “Drop offs only.” My heart sank. There was no way we were getting downtown by car. The bus was our only option at that point.
As I was giving Jake the “what do we do now?” look, the bus driver stops, opens the door and yells- “Hey! Do you guys want to squeeze in?”
“Oh, uh, are you sure?”
“We are very full, but it breaks my heart to leave your girls out in the cold. We can make room. Come on in.”
After we squeezed ourselves into the front of the bus, the bus driver shared that he was a dad of several young children– his wife was out of the country caring for her mother, and he was “doing pretty good” single parenting. He couldn’t wait until his wife got back though. He told us about how much his boys loved TicTacs, and then offered his box to the girls- “please eat some! it will make being stuck in this hot bus more pleasant.”
The bus driver was thrilled to be driving a bus-load of men and women to the march. “You all are amazing! Thank you for marching!” As we finally arrived at our stop, he looked me in the eye and said, “As an immigrant, I thank you. This means so much to me. We’re going to be okay.”
And while it was inspiring to march next to others in our community and talk with the girls about the meaning of the protest signs, that bus ride was the highlight of the Women’s March for me.
The bus driver opened the door when it wasn’t convenient. He showered us with kindness and hospitality, and then offered us hopeful words.
By marching, some people feel safer. I feel safer.
Others feel loved. I feel loved.
Others have hope. I have hope.
And friends, some days I wonder what my role is supposed to be in this world. I second-guess my calling. On days when I am struggling with knowing my purpose, I fear I don’t have a whole lot to offer. But today I am reminded- loving my neighbor is certainly the single most important thing that I can do today and everyday. To stand beside 100,000 other men and women, boys and girls- all created in the image of God- and be able to say- I’m here. We’re in this together. There’s hope.
Aly has been studying Rosa Parks for a project at school. Last night before bed she told me that this march feels like something that Rosa Parks would do.
Yes, love, I think it does too.
“I believe we are here on the planet Earth to live, grow up and do what we can to make this world a better place for all people to enjoy freedom.”