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Ruminations while in Traffic

Traffic on the 405 freeway in LA

I recently took a business trip to Los Angeles. This is my third time to the area and each time I find the visit to be very rewarding. Of course, having the cultural lens of someone living in a small town in Oklahoma, the busyness of the LA area is always something of a shock to me. For instance, as I exited the airport in my rental car last week, I immediately encountered gridlock on the famous 405 freeway. It seemed as if there were thousands of cars all needing to reach their destination but we were all limited to a snail’s pace because our destinations were all different. 

It struck me while I was waiting in traffic that this freeway is a great analogy of life. Each of us in our various vehicles (bodies) are on the same stretch of road (life) traveling to our destination. Some of us are nearer our destination than others. Some of us know exactly how to reach our destination while others seem hopelessly lost.  Others are student drivers looking to the more experienced of us for driving tips.  All the while, vehicles are entering the freeway while others exit and still others are broke down on the shoulder of the road.

Many of us are so focused on reaching the destination that we fail to appreciate the moments along the journey

The thing that struck me is that some people were frantically trying to advance in any way possible while others accepted the pace of traffic and appeared to make the best of the situation. Continuing with the metaphor of the freeway and life, it seems that many of us are so focused on reaching the destination that we fail to appreciate the moments along the journey. I find that I will put in long hours at work sometimes and tell myself that I am sacrificing family time because I am providing for them. However, in my heart, I know that time spent with family is what matters more. Sure, it is important to provide for your family, I absolutely believe that. However, does that mean we have to have brand new vehicles and buy the latest gadgets?

During that time, my children grew up … often without my presence… sure, maybe I was there physically, but not always emotionally.

As I look back many years at some excessive work hours I have spent in the past under the ruse of “providing for my family”, I realize I was really just trying to earn enough to get us the latest and greatest “toy” of the month.  During that time, my children grew up … often without my presence… sure, maybe I was there physically, but not always emotionally.

The good news is, it isn’t too late to detour

If I had the chance to start the journey over, this is the one thing I would change.  Is it possible that you have been on a couple of similar routes?  The good news is, it isn’t too late to detour and focus on time with friends and family. Who have you been meaning to catch up with but haven’t had the time?  Maybe someone called and left a voicemail you’ve been meaning to return… why not call them today?  The traffic will clear eventually, but in the interim, what are you doing while stuck in traffic?

“What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.”
 Ecclesiastes 3:9-13

Happy Travels, 

Encourage – Elevate –  Inspire

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