System Restoration

For years I took the bus to work. I haven’t for a long time, but last week I had a reason to take the bus in to work. I had a pass, which I tried to redeem.

“We haven’t used those kind of cards in a least three years!” the driver told me. “But maybe if you go to the station you can transfer it to the new kind and keep the money that way.”

See? The bus driver did not know me, but he was helping me out. Even if he hadn’t been friendly-and not all of them are friendly-he was still doing me a favor and taking me where I needed to go.

I sat down and the good feeling of riding a bus washed over me. I had stopped taking the bus when I was pregnant with Veronica. LONG time ago. But all the times I had ridden it, and all  the things I had done while riding–I studied for my PM certification on the bus. I met all kinds of fascinating people on the bus.  I wrote on the bus. I also slept on the bus.

Oh, the things you can do while going places on a bus.

It is so relaxing and freeing. Everything is okay when I am sitting on the bus. I am in exactly the place that I need to be, doing what needs to be done on the bus. And I am not doing anything!

The bus system has it taken care of. That’s what I felt as I rode last week: the system is taking care of me. It is not a personally interested system. Like the bus driver, it doesn’t know me personally. But it doesn’t matter. I’ll get where I need to go.

I had experienced this soothed feeling of peace in a different circumstance.

Back when Veronica was a newborn, in dark cold winter, I would naturally have to get up in the middle of the night for long stretches of time. I would get Veronica back to sleep as soon as i could and I would crawl back into bed.

Me and my head in bed. I was chilled and would need to get warm enough to sleep, but even more than that, I had to quiet my head. My life was unrecognizable: I had a baby and I had to take care of her and I had to keep myself functioning enough to do it.

I was so tired and so freaked out. I would mentally panic about the fact that I wasn’t falling asleep because I had so little time before I would have to be up again and TIME WAS PRECIOUS AND I WAS WASTING IT BY BEING AWAKE!!!

Under the covers, trying to get warm, trying to get calm, and then the heater would kick in.


The blessed heater.

Our old house had a heater with a fan that was rather noisy. And because it was in the roof, it resonated in the bones of the house with a medium hum

I know this. I know it so well. The thermostat would do a little kick to some metal, and then a little fan would start and then the heater would make the whole house hum. And when the house would hum, I could fall asleep.

Somehow, with the heat running and the house humming, I could trust that everything would be okay. I would be warm and I would be safe. I got to where I would LONG for the heater to kick and let me sleep.

It soothed me and relaxed me. It was a machine, it didn’t care about me, but it was taking care of me. The system was on my side, and it didn’t matter that it wasn’t personal.

It has been a long time since I rode the bus. I’d love to find a way to do it regularly again. So much has happened since I used to. I have had a lot of reasons to doubt the system. Different systems betrayed me and did not get me where I wanted to go.

But there are systems that are helpful. My mother would call it God’s grace, and that’s a good word for it. I have other friends who can’t deal with the word “god” and would call it the Universe is working for us.

Either way.

There are a lot of systems in place. And truly , most of them are beneficial and don’t require freaking out and striving.

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