I take great joy in observing life. I spend a lot of time pondering my observations. So, one day I thought I would write them down. These are my ponderings. -dana

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Stop Sign.

I'm a goal-oriented person.  Once I set a goal, I can think of little else until I'm "there".  The beauty of the process is often lost in my rush to get to the goal.  When I gear up, it's serious business.  Gatorade for electrolyte stability and hydration.  Peanut M&Ms for protein and blood sugar boosts.  (I'm no medical professional, but it works for me!)  And blinders, so that I won't be distracted by anything to my right or my left--you know, so I can stay focused on my goal! 

I don't think I was born this way.  I actually blame this particular trait/flaw on timed math tests that I took as a child.  These tests didn't help me be better at math, but they did instill in me this need to rush.  Almost always.  From using mouthwash (really who has time to swish for a whole minute?) to pumping gas.  I have done a personal survey of pumps in my little town. Many have a  CFS flow slower than a dripping faucet AND they never have paper to give me a receipt.  Because I always get a receipt, I'm forced to take 25 additional seconds to go inside--and that's only if there is no line.  I boycott them!  And here's the thing about rushing.  Nothing drives a "rusher" crazier than those around us who refuse to rush!  I am married to a non-rusher, and let's just say he could easily swish mouthwash for 2 minutes and probably would not even notice that it took him a full 10 minutes to fill up his vehicle. If he had to go in for a receipt, he would spend an additional 15 minutes visiting with the guy behind the counter.  Real friendly guy, my husband. I've loved him for about 30 years.  That's 30 years in REAL time, but if you ask him, he'd probably say, "Thirty years, really?  Huh, It doesn't seem like it's been that long!"  That's because he's a non-rusher and live's on non-rusher time. 

One day, I tailgated a couple of non-rushers.  This is that story.

I live about six miles from town.  There was a time when I made that trip  an average three times a day.  It was before gas was so expensive and when I was busy raising the kids.  I knew exactly  how long it would take me to get down our little winding roads to the highway.  My ETD's and ETA's were carefully timed and I was proud to have relatively few delays.  I was the mother that was NEVER late to pick up my children.  One particular day, I pulled out of my drive and immediately in front of me was a white truck, apparently just out for a casual morning drive. With the sun almost blinding me, I followed closely up to the first stop sign, hoping he would go straight.  Then came his left turn signal indicating he was going my way.  Drats! My blood pressure slid slightly up. I turned on inspirational music and ask the Lord to calm me, as I would be stuck behind this truck for the next 2 miles.  For a rusher, 2 miles at a slow pace feels like twenty.  With the sun out of my eyes, I began to notice things about the truck.  It was kind of banged up--a much older model.  I also noticed that he wasn't alone in the vehicle.  There was a woman with him, scooted over and sitting right next to him.  Hmmm.  That's odd.  Don't really see that so much these days.  Kind of silly at their ages, I thought! They must have been completely smitten with each other, because they didn't seem to notice or care that I was riding their bumper.  They appeared to be in their 60's.  Yes, I could see it all.  I was that close!

I followed them through a couple more stop signs. Just my luck they always turned the way I was going.  Then we finally made it to the stop sign at the highway.  In just a few seconds I would be zipping around them on my way--you know---with my eye on the goal!  But at that stop sign, something happened that made me pause.

They came to a full stop in front of me.  They turned to each other and kissed.  Then the man looked both ways and pulled out on the highway and they continued on their way.  I'll admit, the sweetness of that moment threw me off schedule for a moment.  I was instantly glad I had witnessed it, and I thought God had sent me a little lesson.  And I figured that was that.

Over the next couple of months and for a few years, it was uncanny how many times I ended up behind this same little couple in the same beat up truck.  She was always sitting next to him.  And  at the stop sign at Highway 29, they always did the same thing.  They always kissed.  Every time.  I would share every encounter with my family over dinner.   From time to time they, too, would end up behind them, and they would witness the kiss.  Every time we mentioned it, we would all smile.  That kiss was a symbol of something we found hard to articulate, but it made us happy always.  We found ourselves hoping we would end up behind them.  They were the one thing that made me more than happy to slow down.

I don't remember when I quit seeing them.   I just didn't see them for a long while.  Our kids grew up and left home.  My schedule probably changed a little bit.  Maybe I wasn't rushing about so much anymore.  Then, years later, when I'd almost completely forgotten about them  and their wonderful kisses, there they were in front of me again.  Same truck.  Same slow drive.  I could not believe my good fortune!  I followed not nearly as closely as I had years before, giving them all the space and time they wanted.  As we approached the stop sign at the highway, I remember thinking "please let them kiss, please let them kiss".  I don't know why their tender tradition had affected me so, but it had.  For some reason, on that day, I needed them to kiss.

And they did.

Love.   Joy.  Peace.  Patience. Kindness.  Goodness.  Faithfulness.  Gentleness.  Self-control.
Over the years, the kisses of these two strangers had come to embody these things to me.  The fruits of the spirit. Even though I didn't get it before,  God was reminding me each and every time he let me drive behind this slow, old beat-up truck.  He was reminding me of two things.  One. That it is impossible to bear good fruit when we're alway rushing about.  Two. The most beautiful moments in this life aren't scheduled or planned.   Nope.  The most beautiful things in life can sometimes happen at a stop sign. When life just is.

I hope I get to drive behind these two again in my life.  But this I know.  There will never be a time when I pull up to that stop sign, that I don't think of those kisses and the simple reminder they carried with them.  That's when this rusher takes off the blinders and has a good look around.  Because there is just no telling what I might see.

a reminder.

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