This occured back in the early 1980’s. I was around 12 years old and with my church youth group (Lutheran) headed out on our (and my) first overnight trip to another church. I was settled into my own personal yellow bus seat with the famous green leather seat covers. We were a small group of about 10 youth and 6 adults. My Mother was one of the chaperones to accompany me and my younger brother. I remember the day perfectly. I saw it on the day it happened and I can still picture it in my head today the same way it looked back then. Till this day I still look for a repeat.
I know and remember it was going to be a long ride to Philadelphia and onto New York City. I was trying to get comfortable in my seat and chatted a few times with my Mother and the boy sitting in front of me. Out of all the people that went on this trip I really only recall my Mother and this other boy who I will call Jim. I can’t even remember anything about this trip that included my brother. Very Strange.
Jim and I were in the same grade school and in the same Sunday School Class. We we knew each other well and so did our parents. We sat with our backs to the windows so we could prop up our legs on the seats. Both our arms were propped up on the tops of the seats and this gave us prime viewing of everyone in the bus and out the windows to sight see. I should explain this to some younger readers because back in my day before electronic gadgets to occupy our time with our heads down to the world we had to actually use the neck muscles to hold up our head and look right and left and all around us when out and about in a new and different place than your normal town of 355 residents.
I did grow up in a small town but was in no way a “small town girl”. From as long as I could remember all I wanted to do was get out of the valley. I wasn’t going to be a secretary I was going to HAVE a secretary. I grew up watching rated R HBO movies and rocked my Madonna style.
I went to Sunday School (pre church time) and Church pretty regularly till I was confirmed and moved out to go to college. I always grew up with a strong faith in God and the belief that He is always with me and life will be fine all the time because he is always in me too. My Mother is the reason for my faith. She loves and trusts in God so much even when she had been dealt some of the most devastating life events. Still, her faith guides her.
I prayed mostly when I was scared and in trouble. I would pray for God to let me die before morning so that I wouldn’t have to face the next day. I had a difficult childhood and would pray constantly for things to get better. At the time I didn’t think my prayer was answered. Now, looking back 40 years I can see that God did answer my prayer for my family to just love each other. I never thought it possible as a teenager yet here in 2015 we all love and care for one another. One would think we are a different family than what we were back then.
When this youth trip was planned I was so excited. I got to go away from my “terrible” life and go have some fun. When I was having fun I didn’t think much of God. Yes, I was on a church youth trip but nothing churchy was going on and it was just a great fun trip away. Away from my troubles and away from my small town and away from the small minded people in my life. I feel bad for saying that I didn’t think much about God. It isn’t like I didn’t love God anymore. I just didn’t have him for-front in my mind. I knew he was there and would be forever so I just went along my happy times mostly without thanking God that Thank goodness they were not bad times.
So heidi-ho and away we go! We have all been traveling on the bus now for about an hour. I LOVED looking out the windows. Everything sparked interest in my brain. I was excited to see and learn. I wanted to be the first on to always point out “hey, look over there”. I was in the constant search to find something, anything that “I” could be the one to point out and get the satisfaction of being the first to see it and show it to everyone. Not everyone was as excited to see retaining walls. Imagine?! They also were not as excited to see the view of our valley from the top of the mountain. But, when I saw a man, dressed in a robe, holding a staff with sheep surrounding him in-between the two highways on the green grass I wanted to make sure EVERYONE SAW HIM!
I stood and I pointed and said “There is Jesus!”.
This was the early 80’s and cars are busy driving all over and no one is stopping. This was no REGULAR man standing in the middle of these two highways. I just KNEW the man was Jesus!
How do I know for sure? Because there were only two of us on that bus that saw Jesus and we were all looking at the same location.
If, this man wasn’t Jesus, then why couldn’t anyone else see him standing there? Why couldn’t they see the sheep? I asked “don’t you see all the sheep?” I was worried they might run out on the road and get hurt.
Me & Jim. We were the only two to see Jesus.