the art of driving

Everywhere I look I see signs of life returning to "normal."

More cars on the streets and people out and about as States and Nations go into early phases of reopening businesses from lockdown.


Everyone has an opinion on reopening.


Is it good or bad? Is it too early, or have we waited too long?

R.I.P. Jerry Stiller


It seems we're back to dividing along party lines, but it is an election year after all.


We've all been stuck inside for quite some time.


If you're anything like me, you've grown restless, frustrated, and subdued by the quarantine.


I'm as ready as anyone to get out of the house and go back to normal, but I would be remiss to not at least think about the consequences of my actions during this time.


I am young (25) and I do not have any preexisting conditions that put me at risk of being seriously debilitated or killed by COVID-19; however, I never know who I am coming into contact with.


As my parents used to teach me about driving, it's not me I should be worried about... it's everyone else. 

Question: Could my early green light cause other peoples’ red lights to last longer?


In reading over some of my diary entries recently, I came across a short story I wrote on November 4, 2018. I had no idea why I was writing it at the time, but I remember being unable to fall sleep until I did.


Given the current circumstances, I feel convicted to share. I had no idea how appropriate it would become.


I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.


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"You travel down a road and you are greeted with a green light at each intersection.

One light after the other, you continue on your path as others wait for you to pass by.


Suddenly you see a yellow glow which quickly turns to red.

You slow down, irritated by the inconvenience it caused you.


You sit at the intersection for what seems like an eternity while every other signal changes but yours.

Cars from your left, cars from your right, cars from behind you, and cars in front of you.


All awarded with a chance to continue on their paths except for you. Then, your light turns green.

You punch the gas trying to make up lost time, and suddenly it hits you.


Life isn’t a road of green lights.


It can’t be.


If it was, then millions of other people would spend their entire lives stopped at a red light until you passed by.

In order for you to have a green light, others must have a red light.


And vice versa.


Yellow lights slow your progress, and red lights stop it completely, but each is only temporary.

And more than that, each is necessary.


For if your light was green and so was the light of the lanes perpendicular to your path, you would all be destined for a head on collision.


A brutal fate is avoided by the installation of a simple, colored light.

But in order for the light to do its job, we all must obey its commands.


When the light is green, you go.

When the light is yellow, you slow.

When the light turns red, you stop.


You must go when the light is green, or you risk being hit from behind by others traveling along the same path who are obeying the rules of the road.

You are a danger to others if you do not go on green.


The same goes for slowing on yellow.

Trying to beat your yellow might result in a collision with someone trying to jump their green.


Similarly, jumping your green could result in someone else’s underestimated yellow turning to red more quickly than they expected.


And going on red needs no explanation.


You see, the stoplight is only useful if everyone agrees to the terms.


If we don’t, then the stop light is just another street light, only a bit more colorful."


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I’d typically tie in a lesson or make an obvious connection to what the streetlight means, but I intentionally want to leave the metaphor to you.


We’re all living our own version of this pandemic, and we’re all at different intersections in life. 


I'm not here to tell you how to drive.


That said, I do want to challenge you to constantly be aware that we are all travelling down a road together.


Stop every once in a while to think about the actions your driving can have on other travellers. 


I’m reminded of a man who kept a stoplight on the wall inside his home every day. He taught us what it means to respect authority, be courteous to our neighbors, and to think of others more than ourselves. 


Of course, the man I’m talking about is Fred Rogers.

Youtube: Mr. Rogers Demonstrates a Traffic Signal


Mr. Rogers was a shining example of patience and thoughtfulness. Exercising these virtues in times like today shows great wisdom and responsibility. To whom much is given, much is expected. 


We’ll all make it through this. Be calm, stay positive, and put others first. 


We've already made it this far.


Abundantly,


hamilton


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