It's not often that I have real epiphanies, but I think today was that sort of day.
Every day when I walk to school, I go up through the old town square and continue through the pedestrian zone that extends basically to the front door of the building where I work. There is a big stretch of this walkway that has been under construction for the past couple of years. They're hoping to have it all finished before the summer when FIJO will take place.
Anyhow, the point is, there is a road that cuts through this pedestrian area at one point. This road is controlled by a traffic light. If pedestrians want to continue walking in this area they MUST push the button on the traffic light in order to get the "walk" signal. Seems basic enough, right? Apparently not.
I'm not sure exactly the reason that it is so hard for people to grasp the need to push the button. Almost every morning as I approach this light, I see from five to ten people waiting for the walk signal. They watch the cars passing with growing irritation. I see them from a distance, growing more and more frustrated that the light won't change and let them cross. They wait and they wait and they wait and nothing happens. The light doesn't care that they want to cross. For one thing, it is inanimate. For another thing, it lives in it's own little world, completely unaware of what is going on around it.
At last I arrive at the crossing. I walk to the traffic light and push the button for the crossing light. Within a matter of seconds, sometimes almost instantaneously if it has been a long time since someone has had the sense to push it before for a previous crossing, the traffic lights go from green to yellow to red and the little green man presents himself.
The people cross the street.
The waiting is over.
And yet they still don't seem to realize that it was the process of me pushing the button that gave them that freedom.
The traffic light still doesn't care about what is going on around it. It just keeps doing it's job. After the predetermined crossing time is over it lets the flow of cars continue until someone else thinks enough to push the button...
I'm not generally a great moralizer. This blog is not some platform for change. Just a place where I lay out thoughts and share my moments.
Anyhow, I saw a lot of parallels in this little moment in time with my general life. So often I expect people around me to think the same way as I do. Or I expect them to grow and change in the ways I would like them to. When they do things I find to be unreasonable I get frustrated, angry even, but as long as I remain in a position of inaction, nothing is going to change. I'm like those people just waiting for the light without ever approaching the light pole. So often I have expectations that are not met, and I get frustrated, but people can't read minds any more than that light pole can decide to change on it's own.
Part of me wants to laugh at those people who stand there just waiting and waiting and waiting. They're angry at this inanimate object that doesn't care at all. And when someone comes and changes the situation for them they seem not to even notice. Then I look into my life and see how much I am like them and it scares me a little. I don't want to be the sort of person who just keeps everything in until I explode. I don't want to live that way at all. I want to give grace to the people in my life as God gives grace to me. It's hard, but I don't want to just spend my whole life waiting for the light to change and everything to be easy. I want to be proactive in the world around me, not judging people based on my own ideas of what they should do or how they should be.
Okay, moralizing done. Breathe...