Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Snow Plow

A couple days ago we finally had our first big snowfall in St. Louis. In an average winter we get a decent number of snows. By this time of year, drivers have pretty much gotten used to it. But not with this unusually late start of the season. I expected drivers to be somewhat erratic, and St. Louis did not disappoint.

On the news they showed a gang plow rolling down the highway. It is a group of snow plows spaced out across the lanes of an interstate. (If you're unfamiliar with this formation, the lead plow throws the snow from the inside lane to the middle lane; a second plow throws it to the next lane, until the last one flings it out past the shoulder.)

Sure enough, drivers weren't very happy with the speed the plows were going. Before long the camera caught a few pickups and SUVs swinging out and weaving through the gang plows. It worked for the first few, but one unlucky soul clipped his back bumper on the snow plow, and ended up in a nasty wreck.

Thankfully, neither driver was hurt.

That sort of impatience afflicts all of us. We have to get somewhere, or we want something -- now. We don't want anyone or anything slowing us down or getting in our way.

The trouble is that thinking is short-sighted. Whatever destination that driver couldn't wait to get to would now take even longer to get to. Impatience and foolhardiness won out over patiently falling in behind the plows, and biding his time. Instead, he got a much longer delay, as well as the extra time, expense and hassle of getting his car repaired.

Had he been the only one affected by his impatience that would have been one thing. But he wasn't the only one. The cars behind those plows suddenly found themselves stopped, and those coming up on the scene could now enjoy a long traffic jam. Even worse, the snow plow was out of operation for a few hours, time that could have been spent clearing off roadways -- all this because one driver couldn't wait for the plows.

I remember getting caught in a freezing rain more than 20 years ago. It was a nerve-wracking drive, crawling around every curve and hill, trying to stay on the road. Then I saw flashing yellow lights up ahead and chemically treated pavement. The treacherous sheet of ice was replaced by sweet, wet roadway. And no, the plow wasn't travelling at highway speeds, but that was perfectly fine. Had I grown impatient and tried to pass him I would have been right back in that ice again. It felt incredibly comforting to stay behind him.

This Wednesday we begin the season of Lent, a time when we fall in behind Jesus and walk with Him to the cross. It is a somber, difficult path, one that calls for a lot of soul-searching and sorrow over our sins. It can seem long at times, but there is no better road to travel. In the end, the joy of traveling in His company -- safe in His resurrection victory -- is the only way to go.

We've all jumped the gun and regretted it later. If you've got a story to share we can learn from, click here and illumine us.


Anonymous said...

Remember in the 60's the little science experiment display you could buy where before your eyes colorful magical little mountains would grow from a tablet within a plexi-glass container once you filled it with water? I childishly pleaded my dad to buy it for me. Well my impatience couldn't wait the week or so it took and I thought by shaking it up it would grow faster. All I got was a messed up container bottom of goo. That lesson sometimes serves me well even today. I often plead with our Holy Father for things and only sometimes do I remember to include "the patience" for an answer. Smitty

Henderson said...

Reminds me a little of finding my Christmas presents (unwrapped) stashed behind a chair in our basement when I was about nine. Naturally, I had to go through the contents of the bags and then feign surprise come Christmas morn. Funny, but I felt guilty about that for quite a while. Patience wasn't quite the issue for me at the time, it was more like once the floodgates had been opened there was no turning back.