Witnessing Contentment {From the Shuttle Driver}

I watch her hoist the suitcases into the back of the van. She’s a small women, shorter than me. She speaks of her grandson, so I’m guessing she’s in her early 50s.
We take our seats on the 4 am shuttle, and she takes the wheel.
My friend’s sitting in the front with her as she weaves in and out, taking us from hotel to airport.
He asks a variety of questions. Do you always drive the shuttle?  Always come to work this early?   
I don’t have to be at work until 4, but I get here about 2:45. I want time to review the shuttle list and plan because I’m in charge of the breakfast too. And I don’t want my breakfast to fail. 
She gets to work an hour early to make sure we get to the airport on time and that we get fed before we fly.
It’s important to her, serving others.
The conversation continues as she explains why she pulls this double duty…
We are like a family around here. We have job assignments, but we all pitch in and help where we can.  They need me to drive shuttle, so I do. The lady in laundry needs help sometimes too. I’ll go down and help her. Whatever it takes, she says.
I’m not sure why I’m so stunned and impressed at the same time. Maybe it’s because bookstores shelves are packed with “find your purpose” and “live your dreams” books. Quit that day job and reach for the stars. YOLO! (You only live once:).
Being a hotel shuttle driver and breakfast lady doesn’t quite seem to fit with the book club idea of living our dreams.
Here she is. Loving life. Living in joy. Serving others. Putting others before herself – no one goes to work at 2:45 am without self sacrifice. She doesn’t fit the mold pitched to us from publishers and motivational speakers. She’s found joy right where she is. She’s looked around at her circumstances and asked, how can I make the best of this life?  How can I do this with excellence? 
She goes on to say she’s taken her grandson to Disney once, knowing that’s where we are headed. So much to do and see, she says.
You can stand in one place at Disney and look around.  You can see so much from just one spot, she says with excitement as if remembering the moment she took it all in.
And I’m guessing that’s her secret. The joy she exudes. The selfless service to others. She looks around and takes it all in. She doesn’t miss anything. She looks upon the things I might miss. Appreciating them.
Thankfulness. And I’m betting she knows Jesus. Those are her secrets to joy.
We arrive at the airport. Only about 10 minutes has passed. She hopes we have fun!  It’s so sincere. And off she goes back to breakfast. Because she doesn’t want it to fail.
And I head toward my gate thankful for this lady and her early morning reminders of the gospel. Place others before self (Philippians 2:3). Work together (Hebrews 10). Live grateful for all he’s given (1 Thessalonians 5:8).
She’s not aware of her impact. We rarely are. Perhaps that’s why it’s so important to live a lovely story every moment that you can. You never know who’s riding on your shuttle. And how much they need reminded that hopes and dreams are good. But, we live in the right here and right now. And to keep striving and wishing and waiting on the next season causes us to miss the right now.
I don’t what to miss the “right now” as I work toward the “yet to come.”  So I’ll think of her and her contentment often, remembering that God has a plan and purpose for each seasons of our lives. And we should never take the moments for granted.

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