Yesterday was a good day on the bus. I'm beginning to think I will be able to do this job. It's remarkable how much a person can learn in three - four short weeks. We're in the middle of our fourth week of our Metro Transit training. As I drove route 17A (the shortest version of 17 - from the main Minneapolis post office to the uptown area) yesterday I noticed how my confidence is building. I am able to control that big wide beast and squeeze it between obstacles without breaking a sweat every time. I still go slow but that's wise -- it's required on the Nicollet Mall (10 mph speed limit) and is good otherwise too, at least until I pass my in-service test tomorrow. I'm quite surprised at my progress.So now it's Friday evening. I'm relaxing with family up at Toni's parents' place in northern Wisconsin. I did pass the in-service test yesterday morning and I was greatly relieved. I am praising God, thankful that the testing phase is over.
On Monday our class will have some specialized training about how to safely navigate transit corridors (Marquette and Second Avenues in downtown Minneapolis and on Washington Avenue at the University of Minnesota).
Beginning on Tuesday and continuing through Monday July 13, we'll undergo what's known as "garage level" training. The eight guys in our class were each assigned to one of the five Metro Transit garages. Based on the various garages need for drivers, four of us, myself included, were assigned to the "Fred T. Heywood" garage on North Seventh Street and Olson Highway (just north of Target Field) and four others to the "Nicollet" garage in south Minneapolis. At "garage level" training we'll learn to drive the particular routes that we'll be assigned to for our first months of work. Our first day "on the job" will be Tuesday, July 14.
Thanks to a great training program, I will be able to do this job. It will be a part time split shift position during the morning and afternoon rush hours. They guarantee us 30 hours of work a week -- we'll actually get paid for a bit more -- we receive 45 minutes of "spread pay" to compensate us for the double commute. Once I'm on that split schedule I will be looking for another kind of service or ministry that I can do between the shifts.* One possible avenue of service did occur to me as I was doing my in-service training this week. I'll share more about that in the days to come.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. Thank you for sharing this journey with me. I hope you'll find encouragement here. There are lots of things that you can do, probably many things that are beyond what you think you are capable of. If you are fearful of what you think you may not be able to do, if you're tempted, as I have been, to just stop before trying, or before trying again, I'd like to invite you to contact me so we can pray together. Or just go straight to the Lord yourself.
I have no doubt that I could not have done any of this without the help of God. But with his help, I can. So can you.
"Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." (Hebrews 4:16)-----------------
*Previous to deciding to take a bus operator position with Metro Transit I had looked into various full time positions in human services and ministry. See what I wrote this spring, such as one written May 3 ("Spring Forward") for a bit more about that journey.