The Day the School Bus Didn't Come

March 25, 2014

Image via B3e_ on Flickr
Last Wednesday was the day I've been dreading.  While my son and I were going through the checkout lane in the grocery store, my Kindergartner's school was going into "containment" -- one step shy of lock down.

It felt like a perfectly normal, average day as we waited at the bus stop after our stop at the store.  My son and I chatted about his day, sang "What Does the Fox Say" and kept one eye on the road, looking for the bus.

As the minutes continued to pass, I began to get antsy.  Ten minutes isn't necessarily cause to worry, but as time crept on and no bus appeared, I began to wonder. 

At twenty minutes late, we jumped back into the car and started to travel the bus route in reverse as I silently chided myself for being a silly worry wart, fully expecting to see the bus round the corner as I drew near.  

Turning the corner, I began to pass by other parents standing at the end of driveways and tried to keep my mind from jumping too far ahead -- why hadn't I heard anything?  Why wouldn't the school call?  Was the bus in an accident?  I pulled over to chat with a random woman I suspected was a waiting mom -- and when she confirmed my worry, I called the school and learned that the children were currently boarding the buses -- 30 minutes late. 

The parental network went into overdrive as the news started to dribble out: the school went into "containment" mode -- locked down from the outside but not locking down classrooms.  We later learned that upon receiving a report of gunshots, our local police department put two schools on high alert  -- just minutes before they started loading buses. The gunshots were actually firecrackers -- and the schools were released twenty minutes later.

I haven't met the bus in tears since the first day of school as I waved hello to my Kindergartener gleefully jumping off the bus -- but my eyes were red and puffy when I met the bus that afternoon.    

And, my daughter?  She nonchalantly told me that they stayed late to sing some songs because it was a little too cold to go outside at just that moment.  Relief and thankfulness filled my heat to know the worries of the day had been left to the grown-ups. 

Hours later -- after dinner, after returning to routine, after making a pan of brownies and letting the comforting scent fill the air, the tears returned.  They were silent, slipping down anytime I stilled long enough to let my brain catch up with me.

Lockdowns and containments at schools should never feel normal, should never be anything but a "big deal" -- and tears shed over feeling helpless and tiny against the complex problem of mental illness and guns and deeply troubled souls who target school children and passersby in malls and families out for popcorn and a movie are never wasted, silly tears.

In fact, none of our tears are wasted. Those tears you're weeping over medical situations that feel too big, over job situations beyond your control, over strained relationships, over feeling helpless in the face of overwhelming odds -- our Savior sees them.  And, when we bring our sorrows and fears to Him, He responds -- not always with an immediate resolution in that moment (although I've seen that, too), but always with the promise to walk with us through the Hard Things.

Will you trust him with your Hard Thing?  

You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book.

My enemies will retreat when I call to you for help.
This I know: God is on my side!

I praise God for what he has promised;
yes, I praise the Lord for what he has promised.

I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?
What can mere mortals do to me?
I will fulfill my vows to you, O God,
and will offer a sacrifice of thanks for your help.

For you have rescued me from death;
you have kept my feet from slipping.
So now I can walk in your presence, O God,
in your life-giving light.
Psalm 56 8-13    

This week we are once again linking up with Holley Gerth over at Coffee for your Heart.


  1. This is fantastic, relatable and just what I needed today. Thank you.

    1. Thanks, Kathy. I hope all is going well with you guys.

  2. I needed to hear this at this moment. Thank you for reminding me none of my tears are wasted.

  3. wow..i know i would also be in tears and reeling from all that emotion...this world is so dark and to think that our innocent children are exposed to such evil is more than a mind can so glad all turned out well...moments like these...close calls...when all the air drains out of your lungs its so important to internalize that truth ...that all of this love in our lives is a gift that didn't have to be , but is...i bet you didn't care a shred about homework or clean up...just happy to have a baby to hug...hope this week is better!

    1. Thanks, Summer. Yes - we all hug our loved ones a little tighter after a close call, don't we. :)