waiting, revisited.

I was thinking tonight about traffic lights. I started by thinking about green. I immediately thought about how we look at green but start anticipating the change to yellow and then red. We expect that our progress will be interrupted. We expect that we are going to have to stop, to wait. We get very frustrated by these interruptions.

Then I thought about red. I realized that what follows red is….green. What follows stopping is going. When a red light in the other direction stops that traffic. When it’s safe. When it is my turn.

What if I looked at red as the prelude to green rather than the other way around? How would that transform how I think about the periods of waiting?

I would probably spend the time preparing to move, getting everything arranged for forward motion. I would probably look at the map to plan as well as I could. i would look around and stretch. I would be ready for green.

Instead, I sit at the red light, annoyed.

Maybe rather than waiting for the light to change, I should change my view. Then, when the light changes, I won’t be angry (“It’s about time”), I’ll be ready.

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7 responses to “waiting, revisited.

  1. Our attitude and perspective makes a huge difference in our experience. The Baal Shem Tov taught that everything we see is a lesson for us. Sometimes stopping to appreciate that can make a big difference to me. It isn’t just some obnoxious thing – its and obnoxious thing with a lesson for me..oh… I like your observation about the stop light. What a great idea.

  2. um, wow

    then, when the light changes, I won’t be angry – I won’t be feeling put upon, deserving, entitled – I’ll be ready.

    Oh, and nice pics too.

  3. The illustration that best helps me get a grip on the beauty of waiting is the rests in a piece of music–the texture of the music we love is created, in part, by the rests…and how often is a rest followed by dramatic beauty there?!?

    One of my favorite devotional books is Waiting on God by Andrew Murray. It was there I first remember reading “Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.” (Isaiah 64:4) In the ASV it reads, in part, “A God…who worketh for him that waiteth for him.” Wow! God is at work in my behalf while I am waiting. Makes it a lot easier to wait when I realize that, because I have can wait with confident hope, knowing that the “behind the scenes” work is being done by none other than the One who loves me best.

  4. Not be impatient and annoyed when stopped by a traffic light? “Inconceivable!”

    Okay I admit your point is sensible, well made, plus! applicable to my current frame of mind.

    Also I like the pics. 🙂

  5. Does this mean I should stop standing in front of the microwave and willing it to cook faster? 🙂

  6. First, I need to credit Nancy for the pictures, not because she took them but because she went out with me at 9:30 last night to find them.

    Radioactive Jam points us to a great example of patient waiting in Wesley in The Princess Bride. For Wesley, the love of Buttercup was enough to make any wait worthwhile. (It was the word inconceivable that was the trigger).

    And Amy makes the connection to the Groom who is waiting, working, strengthening the bride.

    Thanks for stopping by, all.