Friday, December 9, 2016


North Minneapolis Route 5
Today I was feeling less than positive about my life and my work... until I got to the garage and a more experienced driver/instructor said this:
"Good job yesterday on that 5."
Strange how those few words could just turn my whole attitude around.

I think my not-too-positive encounter with the safety manager yesterday left me feeling down. All it took was that one phrase from "Rich" to brighten up my attitude and make my work feel worthwhile again.

The driver who encouraged me was the one that trained me on the 5. He lives in North Minneapolis, and his wife's son is a high school student there. That particular bus (an artic) is full of N Mpls high school kids. Right now it's my favorite piece of work. I'm enjoying the kids and the challenge of weaving that 62 foot long machine down Fremont Avenue, curving in and out of stops. It felt good to be complemented by someone who knows the challenges well.

It's a good reminder to me of the power of words.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Learning from Mistakes

Tonight I'm going to a book study so I need to finish reading Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God for that, but before I do, I want to get something off my chest.

Today I visited with the Safety Manager at work. We get asked to stop by and see him when something happens that catches his attention. It's generally not something that drivers want to have happen, but I've always looked at those conversations as learning opportunities--at least since January of this year, after I got through the 6 months of probation.

Besides a quick conversation after I got my one year safe driving award, I think I've visited with him four times since I began driving for Metro Transit, once when someone came running out at my bus on Nicollet in South Minneapolis (a scary incident for more than one reason), and three other times when there were minor events having to do with shoulder driving. Each time, when I went to see the manager, he showed me video from the bus cameras. So far, I've had no "responsible accidents" recorded, but today's visit made me realize, again, how important it is for me to be super careful.

from "Why don't operators always use shoulders."
See also "Bus-only shoulders move you..."
I learned something else today too. Today's conversation had to do with an incident I chose to report that occurred a little more than a week ago. There was no damage to the bus--that was verified by a "street supervisor" who met me back at the garage, but something happened that got my mirror out of adjustment as I passed a certain semi-truck as I was driving on the shoulder.

The picture I've posted here is a wide open shoulder on I 94 just north of downtown. The place that's been more challenging is the one that I'd been driving for 6 months up until last Friday - a "bus only shoulder" on eastbound I 394 where it crosses Highway 100.

"bus-only shoulder" marked in pink

Those of you who drive into the cities probably know the spot -- it's maybe about a mile long, that is often congested, particularly where the HOV lane closed to eastbound traffic. Buses often move the the shoulder there. It's a tricky spot because it's on a curve, and because part of it has a metal guardrail on the right. Take a look at it next time you go through the area. Maybe you'll have a bus go past you. It can be unnerving for cars too, as they're passed on the right.

Anyway, after I passed a particular truck, something I know (now, after seeing the bus camera video) that I shouldn't have done (the truck was too close to the white shoulder line), I noticed that my driver's side mirror was out of adjustment. I thought that maybe the mirror had brushed up against the side of the truck, so I called "transit control" and reported it, and, when I got back to the garage, I filled out the paperwork -- and that led to the "visit" that I had today with the safety manager.

In the end I didn't end up getting "held responsible" for an "accident," partly, I think, because there was no evidence that my mirror actually touched the side of the truck, but I did learn something as I looked at the video. I had, as the safety manager said, "pushed" too much as I passed the truck. It was too close to the shoulder. I should have waited. I shouldn't have tried to pass at all. The other thing I learned was that I shouldn't have speculated about what pushed my mirror out of place. My words were the only "evidence" he had that perhaps an "accident" had occurred. I'll be more careful with my words from now on.

I like opportunities to learn, even from mistakes. Applying this to our life with God, His Grace, because of Jesus, is so great that he will never condemn us for what we've done wrong. He just wants us to learn. First we learn of His wonderful forgiveness. Then we learn, hopefully, to avoid the same mistake again. That's what I pray I will do, not only in driving, but in every other part of my life.

Time to go.

Peace be with you in Jesus' name.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Tomorrow is Sunday

How can I follow Jesus completely when I come to believe two incompatible things: 1) That God has called me to be with my wife in particular local church, and 2) That the conventional way many things are done in this church, like so many others, is one cause of grief for the Holy Spirit.

How do I balance 1) unreserved discipleship and uncompromised devotion to Holy Spirit driven life with 2) the call I now have to sing in a choir that sits up front during the first part of the worship hour and then go down into the pew to sit in a tightly controlled worship environment?

And how do I express these things in a way that is full of love and isn't selfish?

I'm confident God can make a way.