Tag Archives: Traffic

Oblivious

Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10, WEB) 

I can be oblivious at times. As Beth will attest, it’s usually when I’ve got my thoughts deeply imbedded in a particularly difficult conundrum trying to unravel the pieces of a complex problem to create an elegant and simple solution. At other times I’m just tired from resolving the aforementioned puzzle and my brain goes into the oft ridiculed “nothing” box which every male keeps handy for escape and relaxation. But, there are many areas of life where I endeavor to be very observant. Sometimes for safety reasons and other times to insure I’m behaving appropriately for the sake of those around me.

When I was growing up my parents instilled in me certain cultural expectations and behaviors for the sake of politeness and common sense. One of those areas was driving habits. Always look out for the other driver. Don’t do anything which can distract you from the road. Always pay attention to your surroundings just in case you need an unexpected detour to escape an accident or obstruction.

Driving back from the beach one day Beth and I were enjoying some music as we cruised down the highway. Traffic was minimal but there were a few other autos peppered along he highway. We slowly passed some and others passed us. Then a big car went flying past us in the left lane. Being passed was not unusual for us. However, when I looked over at the driver he was reading. He wasn’t glancing at highway signs but held a book in his hand, in front of the steering wheel, and was reading and turning pages as he evidently exceeded the speed limit in a casual fashion.

Aghast at the apparent lack of concern for other vehicles or his personal safety it reminded me of other “modern” annoyances. I’ll admit I’ve done some stupid things and been oblivious to others around me. Still, I try to be courteous and not endanger my fellow human beings. I’m not old fashioned when it comes to technology and courtesy.

How many times have you stood in line when someone answered their cell phone? There’s normally nothing wrong with that. We carry cell phones to be available everywhere (another topic I’ll leave for another post). However, if you have to shout into the phone so loud that others stare at you then something is amiss. If your phone is that poor get a new phone. I’m convinced the person you’re talking to can hear your booming voice without the aid of the telecommunications network. Really people. Show some consideration and concern for those around you.

Back on the driving kick and cell phones, driving, and traffic lights. Is your life so hectic and important that you must text or call someone every time your car comes to a stop. And, what makes you think that suddenly driving below the speed limit on a busy road makes it safe to text or call someone? Where did common sense go?

It just seems to me people have become so self absorbed that there’s a perpetual lack of attention to anyone and anything around them. You’re so important that holding hands and spanning an entire walkway in a busy mall is OK even if other shoppers are piling up behind your show of family unity. Who cares if the waiter can’t hear your order because the person a couple tables away is shouting in their phone?

People are taking a back seat to what “I” want or the prevalent persistent attention seeking electronic devices so ubiquitously beeping and clanging not to be ignored. We’ve become too worried that we might miss something happening and thus be a social outcast because we failed to read, laugh at, and comment on some bane, self indulgent post on social media. We cannot travel 60 seconds without a conversation which is best left to our full attention.

I’m reminded of the Psalmist’s admonition to pay attention. Be still, and know that I am God the Lord proclaims. We can’t be in tune with our savior and creator if we are always focusing on the creation and the things we’ve created. When flushed with a need to tweet, text, post or otherwise interact via an impersonal piece of electronics; perhaps it’s time to pause, quiet our thoughts, still our heart, and realize God is the one in control. When we lift our eyes to focus on the God of the universe it keep us from becoming oblivious to those around us, the very ones He created just as he created us. He’ll keep our vision focused and not oblivious.

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A Bit Ashamed

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow let’s go into this city, and spend a year there, trade, and make a profit.” (James 4:23 WEB)

Yesterday I had everything planned. Our son, Evan, is one of the lead roles in the spring musical, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. I was recruited to manage the sound system needs. It’s one of those good relationship efforts between the mission and the school. Besides, I enjoy it and it gives me a chance to see the play multiple times without buying a ticket! Of course, my able-bodied assistant, set designer and wife, Beth, must be with me otherwise I couldn’t slide the potentiometer up and down properly.

I put things in order at the office, told the folks in the office I was off for the afternoon and headed to the car. Along the way I picked up a wooden ladder, another prop for the play, some shoes for Evan and high tech pink noise generator and spectrum analyzer to adjust the sound system to the room characteristics. It really impresses the High School students when you make a loud noise in the speakers while walking about the room with a funny looking device making measurements.

I drove through the beautiful city of Perchtoldsdorf, onto the Autobahn, through the interchange onto the main highway north. There it started. Traffic was creeping along. For thirty minutes I sat, I rolled a few feet, I sat, I rolled a few feet. Five hundred meters in 30 minutes. This was ridiculous. I was going to be late. It was all planned. The tests, the equipment, the timing. It was only two in the afternoon! What was the problem.

For the first fifteen or twenty minutes I listened to the radio. The traffic report informed me there was a traffic jam, as if I couldn’t figure that out. Then I started to fidget, and my halo slipped as I started to get mad at the traffic jam. I felt I had a little justification. I don’t know about you but I always feel justified. I’m wrong but at the time I think I am right.

2007_09_04_juckerfarm_011Eventually my forward crawl came to a halt. People started getting out of their cars and standing on the side of the road. It was totally stopped. I climbed out to enjoy the sun and regain my composure and try to re-affix my halo at the proper slant. It was then I noticed, about ten cars ahead of me, a helicopter. I didn’t hear it arrive because of the traffic noise. This was a major accident. Someone was so seriously injured a helicopter was called to whisk them off to the hospital.

About twenty minutes later I watched the bright yellow helicopter take off toward a hospital. Within a minute I was in my vehicle and back on my way. The road ahead was clear after such a long stoppage.

As I drove away I felt convicted. I was concerned about what I wanted, where I needed to be and how the world around me was impeding my progress. The traffic made me angry at the thought I might not arrive in time. But, in the middle of the highway someone was in trouble. Someone was seriously injured. Someone needed help and all I could do was think of why I was late.

This, someone, is one of the people our ministry seeks to reach. He, or she, is a person for whom Christ died. He, or she, is someone in need of salvation like me, like you, like all of mankind. Instead of being concerned for their well-being I was concerned about my frustration. I’m sorry Lord. My eyes were on the goal, not the one who called me to the goal.

Next time I’m stuck in traffic, or the next time you’re stuck in traffic, it might be good to consider who is at the front of the line. Injured or just slow they are in need of a savior. And, I still arrived on time!

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