Every day I made the drive from my parents’ house, to the hospital, then to the client site, then back to the hospital, then back to my parents’ house. Here is what I learned: the main road that I drove on has several traffic lights. Lots actually. The speed limit was 45mph; I don’t like to drive 45mph if I can help it, so I was going just a tad bit faster, but still keeping with the flow of traffic. And I was stopping at EVERY SINGLE TRAFFIC LIGHT. Uggh. That gets really frustrating considering that my normal commute to the office is only 3 miles and has only 3 stop lights. I thought I was just doomed to be in a commute funk for the rest of the week. Hurry hurry hurry hurry – STOP. Hurry hurry hurry hurry – STOP.
So I’m riding in the car with dad one day and he says, “I love this road because once you hit a green light, as long as you go the speed limit, you’ll hit all green lights after that”. WHAT?!?! I was causing this suffering and misery myself? The traffic lights were perfectly timed, as long as you went the speed limit. Ahhhh, a revelation (which I’m sure is true on many roads) that made my life much better, as long as I could stand to go only 45mph.
You see, I was getting to the next traffic light too fast and it hadn’t turned green yet. I was messing up the perfect timing of the traffic light system. I was speeding, and the traffic lights laughed in my face every time they made me stop; so did the old men driving 45mph behind me who pulled up to the lights just as they were turning green. I was not gaining the benefit of the perfectly timed traffic light system on that road. I was trying to speed to my destination.
What if life is set up with traffic lights and we’re supposed to go the speed limit so that we can get through it at a consistent pace? Is it meant to be that way? None of this stop and go, stop and go, that is so brutal on a car’s engine, and likely our bodies and minds as well. Do you think that sometimes we rush life and things stop us dead in our tracks until we’re ready to move on? And we get frustrated by it, but then when the timing is right, we move on to the next thing and hopefully learn to slow down the next time. I don’t know the answer. I just ponder the question.
I wish that I could slow down and enjoy the life that I am in now rather than thinking about what’s in the future and trying to get there as fast as I can. I think I’m actually pretty good at it some days. But then there are the many, many others where I get caught up in dealing with “stuff” and can’t wait to get through that “stuff” , so I speed along, and then BAM – I have to stop at a red light. It’s life’s funny way of making us slow down.
Like life is saying, “Lisa, it’s just not quite time for that yet. I’m not ready for you to move on to the next stage until you’ve enjoyed the view from where you are. Why are you always in such a hurry to move on to the next place?” I think that’s so true. I try to force life to happen and realize that I am messing with the perfect timing that God has created for me in my life. Do you do the same thing?
I’m not saying that we don’t learn things when we are forced to stop at traffic lights. Sometimes some of the detours are the most interesting spots along the way. But, eventually we all end up back on the main road of life.
So I learned something last week. And after that lesson, my drive along that road was relaxing and enjoyable. I wasn't stressed about getting to my destination, because I knew that the perfect timing of the traffic lights would get me there in time. So next time that you find yourself speeding along on a road (or in life) and you are being forced to stop at every traffic light, try talking yourself into being patient and going the speed limit. I will do the same. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll find that the road of life that we’re on really does have perfect timing.