Guest blogger, Will Davies, one of seven students in this summer’s Community Health Immersion writes…
“No, please no . . . not yet.” I said it, and am sure we all were thinking it as our alarm clocks went off throughout the apartment. The dark still controlled the sky as we slowly arose from bed and prepared for something that most of us had never had to do: use the city bus as transportation to get to Siloam.
As part of Siloam’s CHI program, one of today’s objectives was to further immerse ourselves into the community and culture where we live by navigating the Nashville bus system without any help from our team leaders.
The boys, who had grabbed every extra minute of sleep they could afford, jogged down the neighborhood driveway and out toward the busy street of Nolensville Road, hoping to arrive on time at the bus stop where the girls were already patiently waiting. Having to evade the carcass of a rotting cat in our path near our bus stop, we stood and waited for the bus, which was to arrive approximately around 6:00 am.
“There she is!” I announced to our group as we saw the bus making it’s way to us. “Right on time.”
Paying our fare, we made our way to the back and sat down- so far so good. The sun, making it’s way over the roaming hills of Tennessee, shone on both our faces and the empty seats. The bus seemed lonely, and all of us were out of our comfort zones (if we hadn’t already ditched the comfort a couple days ago when moving in).
Nashville’s bus system, being radial, brought us into the heart of downtown where the bus station was located. Getting off, we hesitantly found our way up some stairs to our next stop, which we guessed was ours.
“Well,” said the Will Tucker, “we have 20 minutes to kill and we happen to be right next to the Capitol.” We had already read his mind and our group trekked to the top of the hill and walked around the building.
Having to pay for our fare again, we got on our second bus and made our way to the back, sitting near some of the other passengers this time.
Quickly shifting from small talk to more meaningful conversation, we talked with one of our new friends about our lives and our faith in Jesus, which we both shared. As he got up and rung the bell for his stop, he walked away backwards with a smirk and said “See you guys again.” We knew we would one day.
Our stop was next, and as we got off and walked along the unkempt sidewalk, full of weeds, thistles, and trash, Siloam was just up the hill. Grinning with a smile of accomplishment, we had managed the bus system. But more than that, we came closer to an understanding: Although our neighbors may be different in language, custom, and ethnicity, we are all similar. And while we all try to make our way through the unknown transportation systems of life, for us who walk in the Spirit of the living God, we walk in the Lord’s peace. For our God is one who goes before us and is with us. He will not abandon us, so we shall not be afraid. (Dueteronomy 31:8)