Eventful as life usually is, the past week has been no exception. As typical as a week could be, the contrary to usual life has been the case. We are a member down, and the remaining feeling of nostalgia for the Lost Bus tour Ben and I are holding on to tightly. The opening story has got a new atypical skew to it. Where as we usually struggle to remember how long we have been traveling for, how far we have gone, or what state we were in last, now the hiccup comes when explaining the missing person from the bus. Quite possibly the hardest part of our explanation is the discussion on remaining tour days left. It seems scarily close every time I talk about it... and then reality sets in, it is. Lets start back at the origins of this journey since I have a little time to spare; and excuse my paraphrasing and month fast forward moments.
This trip was born in the mitten, surrounded by lakes and dreams. The idea of adventure and service were bound at the hip, working together in a way to help others but also fuel the drive of venture. The world was ours, until the grounding effects of money set in. The stand still wasn’t long when the supporting community of West Michigan pushed us money-less three characters into a position to complete “the Lost Bus.” Bon Voyage was the term that came to mind for January, 2011. Three boys left the cold north in a loaded down school bus in search of warmer weather and a direction. Hopes were high, funds were low, but the dream finally seemed to pan out. Over two years of preparation all teetered on this 1500+ mile drive. Looking back on it, a lot of stuff went wrong that should have scared us. Taking a hacksaw to the hitch in 15 degree weather, blowing a tire and being stranded, hundreds of dollars flying out of our small piggy bank for fuel, yet the journey was on. Funny to think that on January 14, I woke up and looked out over the Atlantic Ocean and thought Ben, Chad, and I made this all happen.
Fast-forward 16 months, and I stare at the ceiling of this once plain and yellow school bus. It struck me hard into remembering who actually made this all happen. I merely put my shoes (or sandals) on every day and attempt to walk as I said I would. More in depth than the sharpie signatures are the words of encouragement and prayers that were offered every leg of the journey. As I was back in Holland for a few days, my father brought it to my attention that we had such a strong army of prayers supporting us this whole time that failure would have been difficult to accomplish. Coincidences no longer seem to be coincidences, efforts are no longer for the hell of it, thought has been placed into every step, but how much of it is me? Conjuring… How young and naïve I must have been on January 14, 2011.
With no apparent direction, the Lost Bus has kept the wheels-a-turnin for 16 months with such an apparent mission. The directional comment proven true once again as we find our selves in Wisconsin, just a scant few weeks after saying “New York will be fun.” As we feel the brisk air come off Lake Michigan, it brings me back to the mission. At a time where the bus is feeling the miles, and we are down a man, the memories of building the bus, Florida, mountain climbs, and difficult days of work come back strong and seem so sweet. The wake that we created through the United States hopefully will continue on long after us three crazy busians (people who live on buses) are off the road. The mission to live differently and help where help is needed has been proven. It’s all possible and all happening. I know I have ranted and raved about how negative the media portrays things but maybe that has been the reason so many have expressed an interest in our idea. Maybe some are realizing that good things are happening, and good people are everywhere. As some of you may have been following this journey on our website, I wonder what you all have gotten from it, how have we portrayed the journey?
Being back near the origin of the bus trip brings these thoughts to my attention. Lake thoughts…Almost completing the circle of events, the bus trip winds down to an end for us three. How my life has been impacted is beyond words. The people and places we have impacted are immeasurable. The bus has become more of a movement than we ever predicted and I hope to see this movement continue beyond May.
As this blog really shares no information about what we have done in the last week or where we plan to go, I think I should do a cliff note version at the end here. Nashville was great, at the end of our visit we did some kayak clean up trips and worked with the US Army Core of Engineers on Percy Priest Lake. Our last days have been blessed with friends from all over. We have had brothers come out, friends from the mitten come out, and also we paid a quick pass through visit to Chicago and some of the folks we know there.
Now Milwaukee! Having no idea of what Wisconsin is like and having a shared interest in a body of water that we all hold dear to our hearts, the Lost Bus has decided to pay a visit. We plan to circumnavigate one of the greatest of the great lakes, Lake Michigan. Once back under the bridge, we plan to work with a church community in Traverse City. As for the next few days, we will wander in an aimless Lost Bus fashion with the expectations of a divine intervention that has proven never failing.