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My Driving Assignment

May 1, 2008

I seem to always get myself in some kind of pickle… such as the other day:

I received a phone call from my boss who asked me if I’d like to do a driving job the next day. I inquired of this driving job and was told that I’d drive some people from the George Bush School to the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston. I turned down the position and then thought, well, maybe I could do it. It sounds simple enough. They did need someone and I was the last one on their list to call. You see, they go to the cashiers as a last resort if the bus drivers cannot fill the position. Apparently, this was a last minute driving assignment as well. I called back to get more details. It really didn’t sound so bad. I hung up the phone, committed to drive the next day.

I would lie if I said I had no fear or insecurity in doing this. Of course I did! I figured that this would be a little step to walk out the confidence that the Lord has been growing in me over the last year—a chance to walk off the lies and insecurities and to believe in myself a little bit. I suppose I could have picked something else…but then again, I am going to South Korea. This venture would only be a taste of the utter dependence on God that I’ll experience when going to South Korea. With that in mind, I geared up to go. I first had to pass a 15 passenger van safety course online. As if that would make me feel better about driving that boat!

The next day I walked out of the house in a nice, button-up shirt with black pants and heals. I showed up at WCG to pick up the van and everyone there encouraged me.

As I drove out of the garage, I pushed the intercom to be let out and right then someone pealed out. Ron asked in shock, “Was that you?!” “Haha, no.” They all thought it was hilarious that I was driving this enormous van. I will brag in that I only hit one curb all day and it was when I first left the garage…the turn was too much for that van.

I drove up to the George Bush School and went around the security gate. I entered and parked, waiting to pick up my six passengers of whom I still did not know. I only knew that they were friends of Barbara Bush. (yah, I know)

Thankfully there was another driver already there in a much nicer charter bus. I stepped out and we chatted. He eased up a lot of my fears. He was a nice, well built black man who was very professional and in fact, a constable. This was his second job “for fun.” He encouraged me and gave me some advice while letting me in on some driving etiquette as well.

I asked him about the passengers I was picking up and he told me that they originally were going to go with him, but Barbara wanted to go straight home without stopping at the airport, so the charter bus was for Barbara and her dog. The other six got the boot to my 15 passenger van without an EZ tag, and me—who had never chauffeured before in my life, nor driven to the IAH airport on my own. What was I thinking?! I mean, I was only driving some friends of Barbara Bush.

Well, Jill Conner Browne, a best selling author, sat up front with me and we talked a little. She seemed really tired, but was very sweet anyhow. As I want to write a book one day, it was only natural to ask how she got her book published. She was so down-to-earth and simply laughed, “I really don’t know anything about that process at all. I just happened to come across the right people who ended up getting my book published. I used to be a columnist. I was $30,000 in debt, divorced with kids, and about to live in a cardboard box. I met the right people at the right time.” She met her second husband several years ago and now he manages everything for her. She is an interesting lady and I’d be up for reading some of her writing which is in the genre of humor. http://www.sweetpotatoqueens.com/
Tho, the business card she gave me said, “Lick you all over 10 Cents….*Ask about our other specials” I wasn’t sure I’d want to ask…She laughed, “No one ever loses my business card.” I’m curious about what her book entails??? Haha…In our parting she also told me, “Make sure and email me and let me know how South Korea goes,” handing me a tip for driving. I was happy about this because Transportation Services was not going to reimburse me for any tolls that I paid.

However impressive Jill may have been, her story did not compare to Immaculee Ilibagiza’s testimony of surviving the Rwanda Genocide. She scooted forward in the van and started sharing her story with great conviction. She is a woman who has seen too much. She was in hiding for 91 days. Immaculee continued, unfolding the story of how she waited and prayed until God told her she could come out of hiding. She said something about the tribes fighting and she expounded on her first days in America and how things miraculously came together for her. It was hard to catch all of the story by this point because we were now hitting toll booths and then I had to find the right terminal and such. However, I can always read her autobiography, Left to Tell:
http://www.lefttotell.com/
Apparently there is also a documentary…

The other passengers I did not have very many interactions with, but their names are as follows:

Benita Somerfield – who has written education books and is the Executive Director of the Barbara Bush Foundation For Family Literacy
http://www.state.gov/p/io/unesco/members/49088.htm

Kyle Jennings
Tim VanDam
Julie Cooke

These last three I am not sure of which profile is their’s under a google search. I didn’t research a lot though, so I’m sure I could figure it out by what they do for a living.

At one point in the drive, I realized that these people completely trusted me as their driver. Haha, though they might have thought me to be unprofessional (which I most certainly am), driving with my little yellow paper with handwritten directions and digging through my wallet for toll money after waiting in a long line… However, they had no idea that I was terrified, that I had no experience, and that I was winging this entire trip. They probably just thought, “Young, inexperienced, college student trying to make a living.” Pretty accurate if you ask me! One of the men asked me, “How much longer until we get to the airport?” I thought, “Ha! Your guess is as good as mine!” Instead, I answered, “About twenty minutes, depending on traffic.” I figured that adding the part about Houston traffic would keep me safe. I realized that I could do this and in fact had no choice but to…it’s just a job and I’m perfectly equipped to do it. I can drive and speak English. That means I can get to the airport. (good luck in Korea)…haha

Thankfully, I got everyone to the airport alive and in time for their flights…and even without getting lost! That was quite a feat for me! Praise Jesus! I suppose that this was just a little step of faith…a journey of walking out my confidence in Christ and in who He’s made me to be. Only as I looked to Him during the trip did I find the confidence I needed. Maybe for some people this would not be scary at all. I’m here to say, that’s not true for me. I had to rest in the Lord and know that He would get me through this! Haha…and He did!

Later that night I was hanging out at Freebirds with some friends and Mark said with interest, “So I heard you signed yourself up for a drive in a 15 passenger van…what’s that all about?” We all laughed, and everyone wanted to know where they could sign themselves up for the next adventure…I think one might have been enough for me…but who knows, maybe next time I’ll drive Barbara Bush herself…

I will say, the most profound thing that was said that day came from the other driver I had met. After talking about how I was scared to drive these “important” people, he kindly and wisely said, “Everyone’s important. They’re just more well-known.”

That was all I needed to hear, and I was reminded of my identity in Christ and how we are all important, no matter what we do, what we look like, etc. Every soul has eternal significance! That phrase ministered to me and he didn’t even know it! Thankfully I am fully known by God even if I am dirt on the floor to this world. That’s all I really need to know deep in my heart. Grasping this abstract concept of identity in Christ is a lifelong process, but a process that should never be abandoned. I am a diamond in the rough and He is chiseling me out of the rocks and dirt, and refining and polishing me. (thank goodness for that!)

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