The image above was taken in the Summer of 2015, a few months after Ezra was born. It was a lot of change for Danny, and he found a lot of peace sitting where the busses were parked at the school, memorizing every inch of them.
Today we found out that Danny is no longer eligible for transportation services through the school system, due entirely to the complicated circumstances that have landed him where and when he is now. It is no one’s fault; we got lucky for many years that the bus came dutifully every morning and afternoon and, though I thought we might have figured it out for another year at least, it all came to a definitive end this morning.
Danny doesn’t know yet. And if you know anything about our lives, then you probably know why we have been struggling to figure out how to tell him. I have delivered many pieces of life changing information to this kid, but I am not sure any of them have had the kind of impact that this will. He can tell you the make and model of every bus there is. He watches videos of bus safety and creates Roblox worlds full of bus stops and schools. He designs routes in his head as we drive; he has even been known to improve the efficiency of the route his own bus is traveling.
At his best, the bus was a reliable treat rounding out his day. At his worst, the bus was the only reason he went to school at all.
As I was talking it over with his extremely apologetic case manager this morning (who has no role in this beyond bearing the bad news), I said, unconvincingly: “I think it will be ok eventually. He’ll survive.”
She shifted her gaze past me into the backdrop of his bedroom, with his bus panel and traffic light and shelves of die cast busses and said: “Are you sure?” It wasn’t a joke. For Danny, this is a big, big deal.
But I stand by my initial instinct: he will survive. If we think on our lives honestly, there are probably many things we can’t imagine losing. We pin hopes for our survival on a lot of things; a job, a car, a phone, a church. And in many cases we truly DO need these things to survive. And sometimes what seems insignificant to one person would be an absolute catastrophe in the life of someone else.
Sometimes we lose something essential that isn’t a thing at all.
We may pray and beg and bargain with God and plead our case to anyone who will listen, but here on this Earth we are fragile beings who love fragile things. And loss is inevitable.
For people of faith, especially, it is hard to not take it personally when we have prayed hard for something that withered on the vine. It is devastating to feel like you went to your most sacred place to earnestly plead for what you believe you can not live without, just to find yourself staring down the very reality you most feared.
But the Lord never promised us a life without hardship; the reward for a persistent faith is not a life without loss.
The reward – for making Him a part of your life and a part of your day and a part of your thoughts – is His presence. And however large or small the loss, He will be present with you in all of the days of your grief. He will walk with you as you rebuild and find new pillars of strength. And He will rejoice with you when you realize one day that the bus stopped coming…and you survived after all.