Rushing To Red

On my travels from my home to the church I serve, I often drive a four-lane stretch of road with a 45-mile-an-hour speed limit. Much of this journey takes me past several churches. Hence, the road is sometimes called Church Row. It’s also sprinkled with shopping centers, office parks, residential developments, the turn-off for a college, and the north-south entrances to a state highway. Several cross streets lead to other parts of town and, further away, other parts of Florida.

Each main intersection has a traffic signal. So, invariably, one is obliged by law, to stop, at least once, at a red light. I can’t remember a time when I’ve driven from one end of town to the other without one stop. Perhaps the lights are timed this way. But that doesn’t deter some people. Because I’ve noticed on these drives, as I’ve noticed in life, some people are determined to get from here to there as quickly as possible. Never mind the speed limit, weather, construction, or other cars on the road. And as I’ve watched the speedy processional, I’ve been passed on the right, side-swiped, nearly clipped, and as my grandma used to say, practically had another car in my backseat – even if I’m driving 48 in a 45 and have no way to change lanes to let them pass.

I’ve also noticed that all the people who rush ahead of me have to stop – at a red light. Occasionally, they don’t, and fortunately one of the city’s finest stops them on the other side. Because we live by earthly laws and spiritual laws also, I sometimes wonder where these drivers are headed that they want to reach the red light first. Or what might be happening in their lives that they forget that the laws to protect all of us do apply to them.

Lots of us are rushing to get somewhere. We don’t like red lights, stop signs, yields, detours or closed roads. And something under construction can really set us off. The spiritual seven-year old within us usually wants to know if we’re there yet, wherever there is, no matter whether it’s a road trip or a life passage.

Some people talk about slowing down for God, though I prefer the idea of slowing down with God, or to the pace of God. Which is even more amusing as I travel along Church Row, because I’ve noticed, and perhaps you have also, Blessed Reader, that God’s pace is similar to God’s time; it doesn’t always go according to our personal plans.

So, we’re reminded: Sometimes we need to stop at a red light. Occasionally we need to take a detour. Yet, if we’re traveling faithfully, we notice, while we’re waiting for the red light to change, that we have a few moments to catch our breath, cherish the silence in our car, put on lipstick, comb our hair, or gaze at the flowers planted along the roadside. Because the truth is, life comes with red lights, and we can choose to plan accordingly and enjoy the journey.

© 2015 – Rev. Jennifer L. Sacks. All rights reserved.