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Traffic Flow

four way stopOne at a time. Let’s all take turns. You, first, then you. We’ll alternate. We can be nice and wait our turn. What’s a little backup at the stop sign? First come, first served.

All good, until we had servers. Computer servers, that is. Now, everything downloads at once and I am frantically sifting and sorting, jumping from thing to thing. Attending to each in the order they entered just isn’t working. I’m falling further and further behind. So many fall through the cracks and sift their way into the abyss. Heaven help them if they toggle past the first screen.

Oh, I miss you 4-way stop sign. So quaint. So fair. So ineffective.

traffic lightTime to put in a traffic light. You there. You stop and wait. This line of cars, come on through. So much more efficient to build up a bit of momentum. Take out all those stops and starts. Handle everything going one way before switching directions. Just…one…more. Watch out for that pedestrian! Whew! Running the yellow, it’s a way of life.

But my, the impatience of the the ones waiting at the red. Their faces are grim, their hands gripping the wheel with whitening knuckles. How dare you make me wait. I have somewhere to be. I need an answer. I’ll just be a moment. I need a hearing. Hey, you signed up to have me come!

I look at those faces and the backup that builds, and the guilt starts to prickle, the sweat begins to pour. Delete. delete. Delete. There! Be free!

No! Come back. I want to know what you have to say. I want to help if I can. I subscribed because you have what I want, know what I don’t, connect me with what I am not.

Oh, red light and green light. Perhaps an officer could help direct traffic. This 4-way has now grown to 6 and soon will be 8. We’ll need an interchange. Anyone know how to construct a clover leaf? trafficThen we can pass without stopping; we can keep on moving without yielding, without slowing. That will get us there much faster.

But where? Where, without intersections, will we interact and alternate. Where will we mix and match if we avoid each other altogether?

Stop the ready and start the go

Ready-Set-Go!

I love hearing that. Especially the “Go!” That’s my signal to jump into action, begin the race, dash  into the scavenger hunt.

Actually I like it when someone else says Go. Otherwise I would spend all my time in the ready-set. Preparing for action. Settling into the start position, re-tying my shoes, adjusting my waist band, etc. etc. But when someone holds the start gun aloft or raises the whistle to his lips, I know the Go! is coming. That’s when I must stop the ready and start the go.

This is just easier when someone else says Go! Maybe that’s why I like playing in games so much. I completely delegate the Go.

For sure, there are Go moments in life not just in games. These are a bit more tense. The “I do” moment. The “It’s a girl” moment. The “turn the ignition” moment. Where a switch is flipped and going back is not an option. I prefer the automatic go. Choosing the go is a whole lot tougher.

But choosing not to go has its consequences. When you’re forever preparing and never going, things get backed up. Just like being stuck in traffic, cars are coming behind you, making it more and more difficult – perhaps impossible – to turn around.

Now conscientious is good. Studying your options is important. But at some point in the back-up just heading out must take precedence over map-reading.

Much of life – though to commuters I know this may not ring true – we are not stuck in traffic or readying and setting before the go. Most of life we are just in the ebb and flow of our day. All well and good ~ unless it’s not. What if how things are going is not good? What if the other team is kicking our butts and they’re the last place team and we’re so much better than this?

It’s always easier to keep on doing what we’re doing and just hope it gets better. That’s the hazard of ‘ready-setting’ while you’re in-the-game. No whistle is gonna sound telling us it’s time to get started. In fact the only whistle we’re likely to hear is the one signaling the end of the game.

That’s when we’re got to stop for just a moment so we can start again differently. When we can reassess what’s working and what isn’t. That’s when we find our own go. And commit to it. Because waiting on the halftime pep talk to re-orient us may be too late. The deficit from the first half may be too big to dig out of. The traffic behind us is backing up. There is more work coming down the pike. The pressure is mounting.

So much of life may just be discovering our own “Go!” point. Or perhaps realizing that each time I’ve readied and then gotten set with God, whatever Go I have chosen He has somehow made right. True, some of the legs of those races have been very short before He’s stopped me to head me in a slightly different direction.

I think God may not be the one holding the start gun or blowing the kick off whistle. That may be me. I say Go. God says …ahead. See if there’s anything I can’t do with someone willing to go.

How would Jesus drive?

Just move. Be still. Just move. Be still. I feel like I’m stuck in city traffic. Life is not very fuel efficient these days.

I began this thought yesterday when I saw a late model 4-door idling at the light after our lane of traffic was well on its way. His license plate read “Gewgle.” Funny. I didn’t have to look to know the driver was texting or checking email while waiting for the light. His stillness when the rest of us were moving confirmed it.

But then, as we all proceed …a smidge above the speed limit, here comes Gewgle in the right hand lane, zipping along, passing the line of cars to dive in ahead just before the 2 lanes merge. From stopped to 60 in 30 seconds. So he can be first in line.

I was in no hurry, so instead of feeling irritated, I pondered instead. (another lesson right there!) How ironic that we live life this way. Stopped and then speeding to the stop again. We ping between extremes. Life’s version of interval training. On the one hand, we’re to “Just move” because we’re too sedentary for our own good. On the other, we’re to “Just be still” so we can rest and restore. Our answer: the gewgle life.

It’s not very fuel efficient. And that’s destroying the Ozone layer.

God is not about destruction. Not for us and not for the rest of his creation. I don’t think 0-60-0-60 is his game plan. I do think He attends the gas pump. My grandmother called it the filling station. And perhaps that is the better name. He’s the one who comes to our window and asks if we’d like high test or regular. And we say, “fill it up with regular.” And He does. Along with washing our windows and bringing us the sales receipt. He fills us with fuel and serves us with a friendly smile. In our neighborhood He even knew us by name.

Mr. Gewgle is too young to remember this, I’m quite sure. Have we really left those days behind? Can we remember that what fills us is meant to be used conscientiously and not haphazardly? It’s meant to take us a good long way before we need a refill.

Oh, for sure, God meant for us to hit the road once He’d filled up our tank. God gives us strength, and we’re meant to go out and use it. Sometimes we need to hit the gas. Sometimes we need to brake. Most the time we’re meant to travel the speed limit, along with the other cars to the destination He has in mind. We’ve got plenty of fuel for that trip. But if we floor it we’ll likely be walking to the next filling station.

Which isn’t a bad thing. Just a reminder that He’s filled our tank, too. Of course, it’s so embarrassing to walk past all those other motorists who are stifling a laugh or, around here, perhaps shaking a fist. Kind of a tortoise and the hare moment.

Yesterday, Mr. Gewgle sprinted into first position only to be stopped at the red light at the top of the hill. Behind him sat 3 motorists blinking to turn right. Mr. Gewgle’s intention was straight ahead. His failure to yield prevented the others from proceeding on their way.

I wonder if our mad dashes do this to the prescribed order of God. Both impede traffic and waste gas.

I expect that some of us need to slow down and some of us need to speed up to reach our God-speed. The pace that maximizes our fuel efficiency and gets us to our destination safely. This sounds very much more like how Jesus would drive.

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