Life Bus Stops by T. Dominique Enriquez - Illustrated by mmh - Ourboox.com
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Life Bus Stops

by

Artwork: mmh

  • Joined Mar 2022
  • Published Books 1

Introduction

 

This book is about the point of transition in life.  It was written after I went through it and also saw how my peers went through it and has deeply hurt them that I couldn’t say if they have been already healed or will they ever heal.

 

I want to share how I went through them and by GOD’s grace and mercy, survived it.  I want to share this to those experiencing transitions that they may have hope and strength to overcome these moments in their lives as I have.

I know it is always the hindsight that teaches us our life lessons but I would want to give present hope to those who are experiencing it at the moment and make them know they are not alone and they too can make it out triumphantly.

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This book is written with
friends and co-workers in mind
especially LB, RL and HP. 
May my Life Bus Stop experience
also give you encouragement,
hope and stronger faith. 
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For I know the thoughts that

I think toward you,

saith the Lord,

thoughts of peace, 

and not of evil,

to give you an expected end.

Jeremiah 29:11
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I would want to think that all people experiences a Bus Stop in their life.  If you are in that moment you would feel that you are the only person experiencing the pain and difficulties but I think most, if not all, are or has experienced this in their lives.

 

What is a Life Bus Stop?

 

I would like to begin by defining what is a Life Bus Stop.  It is the point in your life where you just left your previous state and is now waiting for the next one.  For some, their Life Bus Stop (LBS) would be a waiting period because they know their next destination and they are just waiting for the bus to come, hop on and start their new journey.  They even know their direction and it may be a better bus for them and an expectation of a better journey.

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But for some, its more of a period of uncertainty. They don’t have anything laid down yet for the next ride and this becomes a period of planning and deciding what to do next.  For some they are forced to be in this status because maybe they were fired or laid off from work.  Some maybe because of unfortunate events like sickness or natural calamities are also pushed out of the bus and is now waiting for the next chapter in their lives. It is also somewhat a period of hope.  Is there another bus for us? Would we be able to ride again? What direction could that bus be taking? Is it going to be a rough or good ride? Questions upon questions that will just remain unanswered but just continues to hope.  These LBS can be the most painful moments of life.  It can also be the most scary.  For those who are experiencing it the first time, it could sometime be a moment that could break them for life.

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Even if you are experiencing it the second or the third time, no one can still predict, not even yourself, that you will go through this “valley of death” and reach the other end alive and happy.

Problems, tragedies and other unfortunate events in life are not LBS for me.  Because these moments are just the difficulties and trials during the trip.  You are still “in the bus” and just having a troublesome times. Sometimes though, these things can be the cause that you will have LBS because you need to get off from the life that you are presently living.

This can also be called the Point of Grace in our our lives.  When we reach the point when all our striving ends and that there’s no more roads to take.  It is this moment that we are wondering on how we will survive. This is the time that our true faith will be displayed.

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Life Bus Stops by T. Dominique Enriquez - Illustrated by mmh - Ourboox.com

My First Life Bus Stop

 

My first bus stop was a moment that was crucial to my life.  The first time is always the most difficult not because the other bus stops in life are not difficult but because somehow we have grown muscles already from the experience that the next ones will be bearable, hopefully.  I guess our emotion also works like our immune system.  We identify the intruder the next time they come back and we also remember our strategies and fight plan to defeat them. So far, I have experienced two LBS and I can say, these should only have a limit of 2 or 3 in a lifetime.  If we still have LBS in later part of our life, even our health may not be able to survive it.

 

 

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How did my first LBS happen?

 

I was in a very good position and career.  Everything was going well and I could already envision my future.  I have my plans laid out and I will just complete them one by one and climb the ladder slowly but surely.  My dreams are quite clear and very very achievable.  I am the head of a newly opened school and we started well and is growing by the year.  We have no reason to go down at any point because we doubled the number of our students the next year and we are just performing well.  Future plans were already in mind such as, finding a good place for the school because we will surely overflow in our original place and other plans. I plan to finish my Master’s Degree and continue to make the school grow.

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I can stay in the school for a long time if it continues to be challenging but I also planned to teach and be a lecturer in the University, become a professor and get my PhD. Sounds like a good plan right?  Of course, there would be marriage and having kids in the middle of everything and live happily ever after.

 

Something suddenly changed when my friend, the school administrator, suddenly went and migrated to another country.  Thinking that she could still manage everything the same way, we weren’t really ready for her absence.  The husband took over leadership and everything started to go down from there.  Suddenly my ground was shaking.  The peaceful steady and exciting life that I have began to shake.  It is exactly what I feel.

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I felt like there is this slow earthquake destroying my virtual dreams and plans and slowly eating me up.  I am a planner so I decided to have alternative plans ahead if ever this bus of my life breaks down in the middle of the rode. I started thinking of my options and decided to leave the school that I have help start at the end of the school year. So I can say my first LBS was my decision that resulted from the situation that happened that was already out of control.

I resigned properly, turned the school over to the next person and move my things out even before my last day.  I planned carefully and applied for BPO job just before I left my work in the school so that at the moment I leave, I can start in my transition work and I would still receive salary the very next month and would not miss a payday.

 

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I was in training in my new job and thinking what is my next step.  I decided to just go with the flow first and settle my heart and mind and then spend this time for myself and for doing the things that I haven’t done while I was still a busy bee as a school head. I also trained for community work because of a friend that invited me and it was also a good way to spend my bus stop moment. My mind was just messed up.  I was so sad that I have bled out doing everything for the school and I just have to leave it.  It was like my child and I gave it my all because I thought that would be my bus.  I thought that would be my journey.  I thought that would be my direction in life. I may have a BPO job at the moment but these kind of jobs are just transition jobs.  The work is graveyard shift and it is not something you would want to do for the rest of your life.  I know I don’t.

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So I just enjoyed the job and community work training that I was doing at the moment just like I’m in a bus stop waiting for the next bus. I don’t know what is my next bus, where it is going or if it will ever come.  I guess you just know deep down if where you are now is just a bus stop or a bus. I know that moment was just a bus stop for me and I also know I will never settle until I ride my next bus.

Suddenly, someone was needed to volunteer abroad in our community training.  I was on the top of the list because I am the most qualified.  I can teach, I am old enough and I am experienced.  I was asked if I wanted to go, I said yes immediately.  I didn’t know actually why I said yes.  Maybe because I found an opportunity to escape the bus stop or maybe it was the Holy Spirit also guiding me and telling me, “Here is your next bus.”

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In just a matter of weeks, I was prepared to go.

I hop on my next bus.

I finally left the bus stop.  I don’t know yet where this bus leads but I know this is better than staying in the bus stop. I know that I am on my way to another country but I am not sure yet what’s ahead and how long I will be there. This was a big step, a leap of faith, an adventure.

Indeed, it became a great journey for me.  I built something again from scratch and made it to something that could be a legacy for me.  I experienced something that I have not even dreamed of doing and I have reached a point where I couldn’t believe that I could achieve something as such.

I even thought that this was going to be my bus for life.  Again, life is settled and clear.  Dreams are visible and very reachable.

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The project that I built and worked on was growing organically and people believe on it.  It wouldn’t reach five more years and we are going to really soar because we are already starting to fly.  There was a lot of challenges, problems and difficulties.  Name it! But I know these things are a part of every trip.  I understand that there will never be an absolute Euphoria.  Turbulence and bumps will be in every journey and I am ready for it.  Although sometimes there are things that may really shock us or break us down, but we just need to do a little, or even a major fixing and all will be back to normal.  Sometimes, we would also have exciting surprises that would renew our spirit and even make the trip more exciting.  I thought I would have a long and adventurous trip with this bus and I am already almost 10 years here. It was such an achievement!

 

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Something I am very proud of doing and be a part of.  This wasn’t just a “work”, it became a project that gave me a lot of first time experiences and major endeavors that I can say really molded me into a better version of myself.  I created something amazing, of course with the help of a lot of people but something that I can stamp my name on and no one can ever claim it.

So, as I was just looking forward and anticipating an even longer and amazing trip in this bus that I’m in now, the pandemic happened.

And so my second LBS began.

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My Second Life Bus Stop

 

I am usually very sensitivity to things and I have learned to follow the Holy Spirit’s prodding in my life.  There are these “leadings” that are quite clear that are from the Holy Spirit.  So even before the pandemic and my second LBS happened, I felt something.  It was not tremors on the ground that I felt during my first LBS, it was just premonition.  I would usually pray for guidance of a yearly theme for the team and usually it just comes as an inspiration to me and I know it when it comes.  So I was waiting for the “inspiration”, then it came but I couldn’t seem to accept it.  My theme should be, “Finish Well, Finish Strong”.  I struggled.  We are still in the beginning why do I have a theme that sounds like an ending?

 

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I pondered, I struggled (I actually wanted to change it) but I know from experience that I shouldn’t.

I guess in our Walk with the Lord each one of us has our own relationship language with Him.  Just like in our earthly relationship, we develop this intimate connection that we cannot explain to others.  I think it is the same with our relationship with GOD.  Each of us has this intimate and private line to Him that we use and we communicate in many different ways.  Usually it is very private and not to be disclosed to others.  Even if it is shared to others, they will not understand because GOD will have an entirely different line and connection with them.

 

So, because of the message that I received, I began to be confused.  I know something is up but I don’t know what.

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Is it better if we know the future?

 

I think GOD keeps the future hidden because we need to trust Him every day.  So I was confused but I still went on with the theme, Finish Well, Finish Strong.

I am also a worrier and a planner so I tried to imagine and make up situations in my mind of what could possibly happen why I am having premonitions.  Who would have predicted the Pandemic?  It is not like an earthquake or a typhoon that would have a warning because it can be seen starting with a Low Pressure area or tremors.

 

Because of the first warning, I also began to be very sensitive with other things that are happening. Things seem to make sense and I am beginning to prepare myself.

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I even asked my superior, Is there anything that is happening that I need to know or are you having secret plans at my back?  I know that sounds funny and maybe weird but I just know something is coming.

My premonition is happening at the beginning of 2020 and nobody has any idea that a worldwide pandemic was about to happen.

Suddenly, it began.

Then it spread and then spread in an alarming rate.

In my heart, this maybe it.

But I still can’t understand how I would go off this bus or leave this work that I am on right now.  Will a pandemic stop us? Maybe halt operation for a year or two or even three but we can always go back.  I can’t still see how it will become a LBS for me.

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Finally, everyone was panicking and there were plans to send us back home.  My heart was just peaceful.  My thoughts were: I was expecting this.  I know this is coming.  Think well and plan each move you make.

Still, I feel that this is just a pause because of the pandemic but not to go off board.

The off boarding was really a surprise.

I didn’t understand the panic and rush to send us back home only to realize that indeed, I was right.  There was already a plan being made under the table (the one that I already felt) and the push to send us back home was so that the plan will be materialized.  It was a take over.  No prior warning, no procedure, NO NOTHING.  I suddenly felt like we are in the barbaric age where you just conquer what you want to then its yours.  Very very uncivilized.  That’s why I said its surprising.

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Pushed Out Of the Bus

 

It was painful coming from someone you respected and thought that at least we would have enough sense to not do things like this. But he did.

We were sent home and the next morning we were pushed off the bus.   Surprise!!! You weren’t even warned to bring important things.  You weren’t even warned to prepare that you are not coming back.  You weren’t even warned that you would lose your job.  NOTHING.

It wasn’t just me, and that actually makes it more painful.

 

And so the second LBS officially begins.

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It was painful.  It was dark and it feels like I’m in a cave.  Just there not moving, in darkness and in pain.  It was more painful I guess because it was a surprise.  We didn’t have time to condition our hearts and minds.

 

I guess what makes it more painful is that it is not properly done.  I didn’t have time to fix things, instruct people and make everything ready for transition.  Who would do such a thing?  I know right.  Unexpected.  One thing I know for sure, this is not good leadership.  I believe in a GOD of order and not chaos.  I believe in a GOD that has designed everything not destroy.  I also believe in process and plans.

 

I was not just pushed out of the bus, but I was also advised to take the “vow of silence”.

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For the sake of the program and peace for everyone, I have to be quiet. So that was my second LBS.  I wish I could describe it even more vividly and make it dramatic but I try not to make things overly dramatic.  For my own good and to encourage myself, I try to go back to my first LBS.  I told myself:

“This looks very gloomy but just hold on to GOD’s hand while you can’t see anything.”

“Remember how he turned things around and that He had something greater in-store for you.”

This may sound easy and nice but it didn’t feel like that during that exact moment.  It felt empty.  It felt unreal.  It felt hopeless.

What could be better? What could be greater?

As you see, even with first hand experience in the past, I can still be in doubt at this moment.

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What’s actually even more difficult is that you just don’t know how long is the bus stop time.  Five years can just easily pass while waiting for another bus.

 

I picked myself up and went out of the cave and decided to get a job quick.  I need to earn a living.  This is also another way for me to forget my bus stop moment and also to continue to be self-supporting and independent.

 

So now, this is the waiting game.

Just live life happily and grateful every day while waiting.  Look closely what are the blessings that sometimes we can’t see because we focus on our waiting time. It is actually too many if we count it one by one.

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Sometimes,

we are too busy

waiting

that we end up

doing

nothing.

 mmh

 

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Looking Back

 

It has been two years since my second LBS and I still can’t say that I have already hopped in the next bus.  Things are better now but still needs time to confirm if I am already in a new bus or I am still in a bus stop.

 

The pain took long to subside.  But the same span of time that my pain is gone, the “take over” also fell apart.  It didn’t last long.  As I have actually predicted.  The program still survived and it can come back to life again as it was a full grown being before this happened.  It can it be revived with just a little CPR.

 

Although the second was much more painful and I have to go through a dark tunnel at first but I was more at peace.

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Despite of the pain, I just went with the flow: got off the bus, sat down on the bench and listened to music to ease my pain.  In other words, I did what I had to do, find a job to earn money and at the same time did all I can to be of help to my family. I wasn’t really struggling because I know something else is coming.

Is it more easier to wait? No.  Waiting is still waiting and being impatient, it is still the same intensity.

But I was full of hope.

Blank but hopeful. Uncertain but believing.

At the same time, looking for new opportunities and getting myself ready for the next bus. In my experience, opportunities come but you have to be ready because if it comes and you have just been sleeping and not prepared, it will pass by and leave you.

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Lucky is what happens 

when preparation 

meets opportunity.

Seneca
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Waiting but Working

 

During bus stops moments, I have never hid in a corner or in my room, become a monk or escaped reality by going somewhere to run away with my feelings.  Maybe because I had no choice but to keep on living and at least earning.  At first when it is most difficult, I just let time pass, just like all the painful moments in our life.  After that, the first thing is that I need to earn money.  I have always been independent and I need to be responsible.  I am single and I feel this way.  I can’t imagine people with families and that they have to feed their children, I think that would even be more difficult.

I think the common thing that happens is that when we go through transitions in life that we sulk and stay in our house or room,

 

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by ourselves away from people.  Sometimes this also means that we would decide to go somewhere just to be alone and think.  I think it depends on the person on how you would handle the first pang of pain.  We can’t prescribe anything to anyone because we all have different coping strategies.  I believe in the time to “mourn”, I think that is important.  I guess some mistakes some people does is that they think they have to “do” something immediately.  For me, I just let it be first.  I know time will cool everything down.  So I just float for a while, with the pain, with the tears and everything else that comes with it.

But… I don’t stay in that state.  The urge to make a living or earn or provide for my needs pushes me to move.  Even with everything still fresh and aching, I live.

 

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So I  believe in working even during bus stop moments.  I think this will help take my mind out of the misery I’m in that I have to endure.  It’s a wound that I have to give time to heal.

 

I found a work that is very convenient for me during my second bus stop.  I don’t really like the job but I know I have to do it because I needed money.  I still did my best, my utmost best.  Because I actually don’t know if this will be just a transition job or eventually become my bus.  So I have a principle to do things well even if I am not happy or even if I feel it is just a temporary job.

 

 

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My Next Bus?

 

So right now I was eventually led to a job that seem promising. This wasn’t really planned but I was just led.  Maybe I should say “we” were just led and we just followed.  By “we” I mean with my family.

 

So this new job is really unexpected for me but I can say that if I would be here and eventually become permanent I can have a more “secure” future financially.  Even my retirement would be taken cared of and I would receive a lot of benefits.

 

I began to think.  I cannot believe that GOD would even think to that extent.  GOD even wants me to be secure financially and want to secure that I have a good pension later?

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It’s another eye-opener for me. I am still not certain, two years after I alighted the bus, that I am now in a new bus.  I guess we will know sooner or later.

 

So what are the things that I have learned in all my LBS?

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Lessons Learned

 

I Can Rest in the LORD

 

This needs an actual experience before we can prove this in our lives. This also needs to be taken in heart because this is easy to say but difficult to do.  Almost all Christians would claim this but when time comes that problems hit, they panic and cram to find a solution or do something.  I know because I can feel that too.  The urge to panic or do something immediately or even to opt for a revenge. By GOD’s grace, I haven’t listened to the dark whisper of revenging.

In my younger years, I can say that I do panic and try to find solution immediately which caused a lot of wrong decisions and moments of regret.

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As I get older, and slowly growing in faith, I have learned to just pause and listen and wait for guidance. I am sure if you advise this to me when I was younger I would not understand it at all. I guess this also comes with age and maturity.

So, fellow bus stoppers, just rest in the LORD.  Calm down, listen and follow.

 

Rest But Do Something

 

This sounds contradicting but what I mean is don’t stop planning, don’t stop looking for opportunities, don’t stop living.  But don’t rush into anything.  Just plan, just do, just search, just try.  If doors will not open then you know it’s not what GOD wants.  If it is allowed then you know that GOD is opening for you.  But wait!

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Make sure that you prayed beforehand that GOD will open the doors that He wants you to come in and close the ones that He doesn’t want for you.

 

Let’s cite an example.

 

During my first LBS, I search for a job for my transition time and BPO jobs would really fit the criteria.  I applied for many BPOs and prayed that GOD would open the one that He would give to me.

 

On my second LBS, I was needed at home so I decided to look for a job that would allow me to work from home.  Did someone look for the job for me? No.  I did it myself.  So I tried few online jobs and the first one was not so good

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so I went to the other one. Finally, I landed a job that fits my schedule and situation.  The point is, Don’t sulk and don’t do anything and ask GOD why nothing is happening.  I think GOD already created us complete with initiative and He expects us to use it. He will approve or disapprove.  But I think He likes it when we always try and take the initiative instead of just waiting for other people to direct us.

 

Do Your Best

 

Even in your transition time, do your best.   Don’t treat it like its not going to be your bus because as I have experienced, when I went abroad and accepted the job, I didn’t think that it was going to be my bus for the next 9 years.  In the beginning, it may feel like I’m still in the bus stop but I just

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did my best and worked hard and exceeded the expectations on me.  Some people because they are still doubting or uncertain, they tend to do a lousy job and then realize that this is their bus.  Too late to shine on their first impression moment. The superiors are also not convinced because they work like its temporary, as if they will go anytime.

When I was supervising people, this is quite clear.  You just see who are those that are doing their very best even if they are unsure and those who are just there passing time and waiting until they are sure but giving such a poor performance on their job.

So, do well, even if in moments of uncertainty, if you are doing your best, it will just benefit you in the end.

 

 

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Claim That GOD Has Something Better Next

 

Yes! All good things come from GOD and no good thing will He withhold from us who believes and trusts Him.  This one I learned from experience.  If GOD takes you out from your previous bus it means the next bus is better.

 

Think about it!  If GOD is the one that took you off the bus, do you think He will put on a lesser bus than what you just rode? Is that good?  I don’t think so.  So if you think your life is worst that your previous bus, can you try to analyze if this was GOD’s or your will.

I believe transition time is difficult and that’s why we have to acknowledge it because we will be confuse on where we are at the moment.

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Even if it is hard or life is more difficult, knowing that stage that you are in really helps.  You can look forward to the next step or at least you can watch out for the next bus.

For the next bus to be better, it doesn’t mean you earn more or you will have a higher position.  Sometimes GOD just wants to pull you out of your previous situation for your good.

Also, everything is a process.  There is no short cut to life.  So if you are starting again expect that you are down the list.

 

Work hard again and do your best and you can work your way up or however GOD leads you from where you are now.

 

 

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Have a Happy Trip

 

So finally, it really helped me a lot to recognize this stage in my life.  It organized the events and also made me more stable and calm to face it. I also hope to impact this experience to those that going through the same situation that I have.  We can learn from our experience in the past but, if we can learn in advance from the experience of others, that would truly be wisdom for us.

 

Have a happy trip.  You will get out of the bus stop soon.

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For the Lord God is a sun and shield;

the Lord will give grace and glory; 

no good thing will He withhold 

from them that walk uprightly.

Psalm 84:11
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