Do you remember the game "Red light...green light.."? I was thinking about it as I put my thoughts together for today's blog. I heard a speaker talk about red lights at a conference today, and it put this idea in my head about my somewhat checkered history with traffic lights.
For some...a yellow light signals the need for caution...to slow down...prepare to stop. For others however, myself included, a yellow light usually means hurry, don't let the red light catch you! Red lights are a burr in my saddle...they slow me down...keep me from where I want to go...they are, in a word: annoying!
I have a very dear friend who has listened to me gripe about red lights for more than 25 years...and has patiently endured my lectures on how to get from "Point A" to "Point B" faster, and more efficiently. She laughs at my obsession with saving 10 seconds here, or 20 seconds there...and she is right to laugh...if I was forced to give a full account of why it is so important to save 10 seconds on my way to Wal-Mart, I feel sure that my rationale would be lacking, if not completely ridiculous.
Why am I in such a hurry? I honestly don't know the answer to that, but I heard something today that might be a help...
What if we began to see every red light around town as a metaphor for those moments in life when we need to stop long enough to learn something? If you run the light, as I'm often inclined to do, you miss the lesson that is found in the waiting. Perhaps there is a specific lesson to be learned in your life, or in mine...or perhaps the lesson to be learned is the act of waiting itself. I don't wait well...do you? I have much to learn in this department, and if this simple lesson about traffic lights can help me develop my capacity to wait, it will have been worth the effort.
When next you see a yellow light, welcome the event as an opportunity for spiritual practice! Be intentional about slowing down...preparing to stop...and wait. And while you're waiting, meditate on this thought:
The Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!