My Bus Stop was finished today.

I say ‘my’ bus stop because in four years of bus catching, often daily, I have never seen another soul embark or disembark there. Just me.  When we first arrived in Paradise buses didn’t stop there at all.  The official bus stop was back around the corner of the park, surrounded by acres of


Long wavy grass.
We can’t go over it,
We can’t go under it.
Oh no!
We’ve got to go THROUGH it!
Swishy Swashy
Swishy Swashy
Swishy Swashy

Speaking only for myself, I was scared.  I can tell you with complete authority that grass-moistened motorised-wheels skidding down the linoleum aisle of a public bus does not a beautiful day make!  A written request that the bus might pick me up at my preferred location has now grown to become, just three years later, this grand construction:

bus stop 5

The strange thing is that I still see the general public back around the corner, not thirty metres away, standing on their un-sheltered, un-paved, un-mown and generally un-kempt grass; waiting for the same bus with grim forbearance. Should I invite them up?

When I first wrote about the pouring of the concrete bus shelter slab on a Spring day in 2011, I did not imagine that it would be quite this long before work resumed.

bus stop 2

bus stop 1







When I first wrote about the pouring of the concrete bus shelter slab on a Spring day in 2011, I did not imagine that it would be quite this long before work resumed. But now, as then, progress has come at an opportune time; a moment of coincidental, personal significance. Back then I wrote about the council as ‘Agents of Divine Providence’, sent (unknowing) to remind me that the world I inhabit is broader than the horizon I see.  That message was startling and reassuring just as I was about to journey southwards by train with my Favourite Wife, into the uncertainty of another hospital admission.  Today I can’t describe the circumstances that make  the workmen’s reappearance equally significant – believe me, it is. Curiously I would not have witnessed the actual installation if I hadn’t missed the previous bus by a whisker; forcing me to return home muttering and grumbling about the failings of public transport (knowing full well that it was me running late, not the bus). More than mere coincidence, the sight of a crane an hour later was a word in season on a very challenging day: “Don’t give in, there are journeys to be made, a mission to accomplish, no matter how unlikely it may feel”. 

bus stop 4 bus stop 3








Random events in the world around can’t possibly hold actual connection to our personal lives; and yet … they do! It’s irrational, probably egocentric, but over the years I have been astounded by such affirming coincidences innumerable times. This is dangerously close to superstition, and perhaps I am already sounding worryingly close to the crackpot dinner-guest we have all smiled at generously (and dishonestly) while furtively scanning the room for someone else to talk to. But for better or worse this is how my wife and I have lived, and how we have made some of our big decisions. After all, what was the Burning Bush from which Moses gleaned so much? Or the Guiding Star that summoned Magi from a distant land to an infant’s side?  Weren’t they signs? And have you read the story of the coin in the fish’s mouth?

I came upon this curious line from an interview with Paulo Coelho, said to be the most published author in the 21st Century:

“I am a Magus, but so is everyone who knows how to read the hidden language of things in pursuit of their personal destiny”

I like this thought very much, but I want to run from it as well.  Paulo is a practicing Catholic having previously traveled some wilder paths, and a recurring theme in his books (of which I have only read two) is the small signs that come to mark our way.  What I dislike in the quote is ‘pursuit of a personal destiny’.  It sounds so selfish.

There is no possible excuse if following a ‘sign’ leaves you marooned, or worse. I can never say, “The Bus Stop made me do it”. But equal parts of watchfulness, humility, courage, and faith can point toward the future. If you believe in a creator, or better still a creator who continues to watch our world, the notion of guiding signs fits very easily. The aphorism, “It was meant to be” is much to flimsy for my liking; I need a robust God, one with a name and a voice.  But whatever your belief, engaging in the mystery of life, listening to life, is a wonderful thing.  “Don’t give in, there are journeys to be made, a mission to accomplish, no matter how unlikely it may feel”. 

(I’m very aware that this is not my best effort at the keys; thoughts and words have gone into hiding it seems.  But several weeks of polishing have not improved it all that much.  So…)



4 thoughts on “Shelter

  1. Margaret Rennie

    Thank you, Rod, for your ‘Rejoice’. as always. I am very happy that you now have a bus shelter and I think it would be good to invite your fellow passengers to share it with you! Maybe together you could arrange for a grate and a fire to keep you warm during the wait for the bus? And then a coffee cart to come along…..and then a choir to entertain you all as you await the bus. Possibilities are endless – as always!

    I saw a ‘sign’ recently which read – “If you are looking for a sign this is it” Rather apt I thought. However, I do admit to reading ‘things’ that happen as indications of the way ahead.

    With my love, Marg

  2. Chris

    Ah, dear Rod, how wonderful to see this morning that the hiatus is over – ended with a lovely reflection on the meaning of things. This will add something to my day – as if to underline your point. Bravo!

  3. Mark Coffman

    I often remind people that when God speaks to you personally, it has to be meaningful to YOU, not everyone else, because you are whom he is speaking to. Sounds like your listening ear has caught God’s voice again. I was so pleased to see our post, I miss reading regular installments.

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