Bible study leaders don’t just present content. They connect with the group on a very human level. As I write my Bible Study lessons, I tried to include questions that end with, “Does anyone have a story about that?” There is something about sharing our stories that changes us, as this story illustrates:
The bus driver was about fifty-five, balding, and overweight, with a sad, sweet smile. “Call me Boston Bill,” he said as I boarded his bus.
It was a little past 10:00 PM. My family and I were completely exhausted. Bad weather had caused our flight home to be canceled, and even though we’d waited standby at the airport all day, we’d had no luck. Our only choice was to stay in Boston overnight. Needless to say, we were not too chipper as we climbed into Bill’s hotel shuttle. Worse, the little bus was not wheelchair accessible, so I had to be strapped into a child’s car seat, riding shotgun next to Bill. I was a very tired ten-year-old who just wanted to go to sleep, but Bill seemed nice. I brushed off my bad day and turned on my good vibes.
We talked the whole ride, from the airport to the hotel. The time went by easily as I joked around with Bill, asking him a million and one questions. When we finally arrived, I said my good-byes and wished him well.
It was late, but my family and I were famished. We headed for the hotel dining room for a quick meal. The restaurant was closing down as we walked in, but the hostess took pity on us. I’m guessing we looked too hungry and worn out to turn away. When the food came, I dug in.
About halfway through my pasta marinara, I looked up to see Bill making a beeline to our table. He wasn’t smiling now, though. Instead, he had that expression all humans make right before they cry.
“I hope you don’t mind that I’m interrupting your dinner,” he said to my parents. “I just had to share something with you.” He placed his hand gently on the top of my head.
“I’ve been going through a rough period in my life lately,” he continued. “My wife left me, my kids won’t speak to me, and I’ve been drinking too much. I’ve been going to therapists and counselors, but none of them were able to get through to me. Before this little guy here got on my bus, I was seriously considering committing suicide tonight.” By this time, we’d all put down our forks and were listening intently.
“But your son here did more for me in a short trip from the airport than all the therapists combined. After meeting this boy, and seeing how happy he is despite everything that he has to deal with, well, it put my life in perspective. I have hope now, and I just wanted to thank you.” — Get Off Your “But”: How to End Self-Sabotage and Stand Up for Yourself by Sean Stephenson
Why is the human connection such a powerful thing?