The Backseat of the Bus

Being a self-sufficient, single woman with no children for the majority of my thirties, I have been allowed to be—shall we say—selfish. There is no mistaking the fact that it has been “all about me” for quite some time now and honestly I have, admittedly, had no problem with that.

Life is pretty simple and things tend to go “my way” when I am the only one making the decisions and calling all the shots… for myself. For example, I have thus far used some form of the words “I” or “me” NINE times in this entry. See what I mean? (OK, make that 10).

So if being in the driver’s seat has been my status quo for so long — you can only imagine the adjustment that might be required if or when the time comes that said seat should be forfeited for any reason.

With the recent loss of my fiance’s mother, I have found myself in a brand new seat. As I struggled, after the first two weeks, at the advent of my new seating assignment, my mother said to me: “Joanna, it is time now for you to take a backseat on the bus.”

Of course she was referring to being the support person for someone whose needs are far greater than my own. Her words have been such a perfect reminder of precisely what my role is right now. And her wisdom and way of thinking has inspired me to fully embrace the responsibilities that accompany the view from the back.

It has been from the vantage point of this new place that I have begun to “see” many new things for the very first time.

I have seen that…

  • It is much easier to push than to pull, therefore helping someone from behind rather than in front.
  • I am capable of caring more for another person than I ever dreamed possible.
  • Suddenly I have all the strength I need to do what is necessary for the other.
  • The world exists largely in that which lies beyond my own reflection and it is a whole lot bigger than I ever thought it was.
  • I can be much more useful offering a hand in someone else’s journey when I am not so focused on the drama, flaws or calamities of my own.
  • The obstacles I thought were mountains usually are mere molehills.

So as it turns out — the view from the “back of the bus” really is the one that offers the best perspective of all.


14 thoughts on “The Backseat of the Bus

  1. kalisisrising says:

    Thanks for this thought:
    The world exists largely in that which lies beyond my own reflection and it is a whole lot bigger than I ever thought it was.

    Such a good reminder and so very timely for me as I work through yet another breakup that feels all consuming, but, of course, isn’t.


    • Thank you, I’m glad you liked that thought and I hope it helps as you go through your difficult time. I’m sorry that is happening to you right now. I hope you heal quickly and do not allow yourself to be consumed by it. But I know that is easier said than done!

  2. JT says:

    Good to hear from you, especially from the back of the bus. Maybe if we all move to the back maybe it won’t be so hard to hear when someone has a need 😉 Think of you and Lee frequently.

  3. Although clearly not the same thing, your post reminded me of my day yesterday. I let my teenager and her friend do all the driving, and I sat in the back seat with my boys. It was so nice to give up some of the control and decision making and just play footsies with my favorite little men!

  4. Donald Miller says:

    I didn’t read the post yet. I’m honestly wondering if you still want me coming around. I’m not in a tissy over it or anything. A little sad. But that’s all. I thought I gave you plenty of support. If it came across as anything else, that’s an unfortunate miscommunication. Anyway, if things are good, you’ll leave me comment on my site. If not, sad to know that, but okay.

    I wrote a short story that I think is good, “The Atheist’s Confession.” Any assessment of it is good. Even “This really stinks.” is good. I’m tough; I can take it.

    • Donald Miller says:

      I try to keep the like button turned off but somehow people manage to find one . Someone just mentioned to me that he didn’t get the story. That’s a problem. I have all the pieces of the puzzle there, but if people can’t quite put ’em together, that story’s in big trouble. Is that what happened to you? You didn’t get the ending?

      • I saw a “Like” button and clicked it because it was a great story! I did get it but really because I assumed at the end that it was a work of fiction. Honestly, after I read it once, I was so shocked by the ending that I re-read it to make sure I didn’t miss anything vital. I couldn’t find a clue to the fact that it was fiction and I did wonder if Iwas missing something. The only thing I could think of was the fact that you discuss lying at the beginning—possibly indicating to us that the following story was fiction. Is that right?

        • Donald Miller says:

          I got the idea from a real story about a guy forgetting to put his parachut on because he was distracted by the headgear he was using for the video he was making. that part was true. All the rest of it was made up. The guy had two things he was going to say ot this guy who was an annoying pain. But when the guy said, “You’re wrong about that, too.” the main character doesn’t say the second thing–that you’re not wearing a parachute. That’s why the wife is crying at the beginning of the story. She knows he let the pain in the neck jump out without a parachute.

  5. Donald Miller says:

    This is one of your best posts. And that is saying a lot! You show a wisdom in knowing how to learn and to grow, and when and how to do it. The bus was on schedule and you were at the right stop.

    • Thank you. It has been tough at times. But I am learning.

      With regard to your story… Ahhh… I DID wonder what the second thing was that her did not say. Thank you for letting me know that my suspicions were right! I wouldn’t change a thing. The story (especially the ending) is great as is!

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