One summer, my family moved to a new city. I was very shy, and my mom knew I might need a little extra help getting used to our new home. She decided it would be good for me to take a summer art class at the school I'd be attending in the fall.
That meant taking a city bus across town to the school. Before my first day of class, my mom rode with me on the bus and showed me how I'd have to ring the bus bell before my stop, so the driver would know to stop. It looked easy enough, and though it was a little scary to do this on my own in a new city, I was sure I could.
The first day of class, I caught the bus just fine. I watched carefully as it got closer to the high school. But I waited a little too long and rang the bell just after the bus passed the stop I needed.
I guess the bus driver thought I rang the bell for the next stop after mine, because he kept on driving. And I was too shy to say anything. It just seemed too hard to do.
So I kept on riding in the bus as it went past the school, across a highway overpass, and into another neighborhood. I was far beyond the school - it was much too far to walk.
I didn't know what else to do, so I got off the bus when it finally stopped. There I stood, in the middle of a neighborhood where all the houses looked alike. For as far as I could see, identical houses lined the streets. I can't really just walk up to one of those strange houses and ask for help, I thought.
So I did the only thing I could think of. I asked God for help. I'd always known that God loved and cared for us, no matter what situation we were in or what mistake we'd made. So I felt sure that God could help me now.
Of course, when you ask someone to help you, you have to listen for the answer. So I stood very quietly and listened. The first thing I remembered was that my dad had some friends who lived in this very neighborhood. We'd been to their house once before, but I didn't remember where it was.
So I listened some more.
This time, I remembered a song I'd sung in Sunday School. The woman who started this newspaper, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote the words in a poem. The poem talks about how God is like a shepherd who guides and cares for us. Part of it says:
I will listen for Thy voice,
Lest my footsteps stray;
I will follow and rejoice
All the rugged way.
I felt very relieved to know that I could trust God to tell me which way I should go. So I started walking, and sang the song to myself while I walked. Every time I came to a corner, I would stand very still and listen for God's direction. I didn't hear an actual voice telling me which way to go. But I would just suddenly feel which way was the right way to turn, and then I would walk that way.
Pretty soon I found myself standing in front of one house. I listened some more, and felt sure this was my dad's friends' house. So I went up and rang the doorbell. And it was the right house! The woman who lived there was very surprised to see me. She let me inside and had me call my mom, who came from work and drove me to the school.
There are two things I remember from that day: the first is how much trouble I got in for not talking to the bus driver when I should have! Everybody seemed kind of mad at me, and I knew I wasn't going to make that mistake again. But even while everyone was lecturing me, I still felt a great peace - because what I'd learned that day seemed so much more important than even trying not to be shy. I'd learned that I could turn to God any- time, in any circumstance, and that He would guide me each step of the way.
I did make some good friends that summer. And they even helped me get over my shyness.
And thine ears shall hear
a word behind thee, saying,
This is the way, walk ye in it,
when ye turn to the right hand,
and when ye turn to the left.
(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society