This time of year, I am out for a morning walk about the same time the sun comes up. The school kids are out to catch the bus. There are a couple of buses that rumble through the neighborhood – it looks like one picking up the elementary-age students and another for the middle and high school kids. The buses make several stops and when they do, their red lights begin to flash and the stop sign arm pops out.
No one likes following a school bus with its stops and flashing red lights. If you’re on your way to work and behind a school bus, it might delay your arrival by, who knows? – two minutes.
Earlier this week I was out for my morning walk when a school bus pulled up to the stop sign at Bear Creek Pass and Kodiak Trail. The bus turned left on Kodiak Trail, normally the fastest way out of the development. The pickup truck behind the bus, however, made a short stop at the intersection and accelerated quickly as it headed straight down Bear Creek Pass. He was betting he could beat the bus.
The route out on Bear Creek Pass is probably a couple of hundred yards further than on Kodiak Trail, and the slightly longer way out. But with a school bus stopping to pick up students on Kodiak Trail, and if you make it a slightly above speed limit trip around the bend on Bear Creek Pass, you stand a good chance of being ahead of the school bus by the time you hit County Road 52, the road that takes you into town or out to the interstate.
My guess is the pickup truck made it to County Road 52 several seconds before the school bus. Maybe the time saved kept the driver from arriving at work late one more time. Maybe his on-time arrival kept him from being fired. And not having lost his job, he was able to afford medical care for his tiny son, Tim. And maybe. Well, you know, God bless us, everyone.
Of course, it could have been that some first grader was crossing the street to get to her bus stop just when our pickup truck came barreling around the bend on Bear Creek Pass. Fortunately, I did not hear anything about that.
Rarely are 20 seconds saved, 20 seconds earned. Barring the Tiny Tim scenario, the driver of the over-the-speed-limit pickup truck made a poor decision at the corner of Bear Creek Pass and Kodiak Trail. He should have followed the school bus out to County Road 52 even if there were no first graders crossing the street as he sped down Bear Creek Pass.
Behind a school bus or not, we are tempted by short cuts. We’d rather take a pill than submit to the discipline of exercise or a healthy diet. We take the short cut of voting for morally and ethically compromised candidates rather than the longer route of working to change what is unjust or preserve that which is right and good. We read a quick devotional by a popular preacher rather than engage some of the difficult texts of Scripture.
Jesus said, “The gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. The gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Matthew 7:13–14)
He may have been talking about shortcuts.
I’m not usually in the car when the school buses rumble through the neighborhood around sunup, but next time I am, I will try to avoid the temptation to drive a little faster down Bear Creek Pass in order to beat the bus to County Road 52.