I hate stop lights. Pausing in my recklessly dangerous daily drive for even five seconds is often frustration enough for me to want to beat Lester Wire or James Hodge or whoever it was that invented traffic lights centuries ago. Especially when I'm in a hurry-- and I'm always in a hurry. I don't even have time to write this blog and you probably don't even have time to read it. It's the 21st century, where are our George Jetson hovercraft briefcases or Doc Brown DeLorean time machines?! I got places to go and things to do. But don't we all? We go to great lengths to save time yet procrastinate nearly every chance we get. It doesn't make sense. When's the last time you've heard someone say, "I love waiting!"--and actually mean it? When have you ever looked for the longest line to stand in at the convenience store? When have you seen a commercial advertise how slow their product is? With a whirlwind of shorthands and short answers, gadgets and gizmos, multi-tasking, juggling and jamming life all in efforts to cram as much as we can into as little as we can--we are a culture addicted to speed (and I don't mean the drug).
But stop signs aren't meant to slow us down as much as they're meant to protect us from ourselves; they were invented to aid in traffic safety. What we need in life isn't more fast food, higher powered engines, or quicker internet connection. Maybe what we need is to value the time we have.
Can we enjoy the simple things in life when speeding along, mind racing, cluttered with commotion at every turn. Silence should be peaceful but it has become uncomfortable, awkward even, in conversations and situations as we've grown increasingly accustomed to the noise of chaos and confusion in our lives. Yet it is in those quiet still moments that I can hear Heaven whisper, the stirring song of birds, the awaking lull of my soul's symphonies. Beethoven created music in the silence and another composer, John Cage, recognized the often unnoticed beauty of stillness when creating 4′33″, a score that instructs the performers not play for the entire four minutes and thirty-three seconds. The ceasing scent of roses can't even catch up to our blustering breathes nor can family and friends enjoy lingering laughter and memories if we flee from lasting connections of the here and now. In the eyes of eternity, and the words of Master Oogway of Kung Fu Panda, we "are too concerned about what was and what will be...yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the 'present'."
In the wee hours, this is the message I've felt tugging achingly at my heart. Stop lights aren't so bad after all.
Don't rush, but rather hush. Touch: press, push, dig deep within and without, instead of surfing the surface, skimmed against skin-- not a glance or a glimpse, but gaze at glory; staring at the stars or the eyes of someone you love, both of equal light, whether it be a significant other, a sister, a brother, or a child. Simply cherish the moments.
As if bound to the wind, tossed to and fro, caught in the struggle, lost in the shuffle...
isn't it time we've been found again?
Don't stop the lights. Let the lights stop you.