Traffic Calming Device

This week I learned that “traffic calming device” is just a fancy way of saying  SPEED BUMP.

Isn’t that funny?

The words “traffic” and “calming” seem like polar opposite things.  Traffic makes me think of high stress, long, slow moving lines of cars, trucks, people, ants……and Calming makes me think of scented candles, relaxing music and whatever the opposite of high stress is (I don’t believe I’ve ever reached that end of the spectrum).

It’s so interesting to think about speed bumps, and what exactly their purpose is.  They slow us down (by us, I mean me).  They are placed to bring protection to not only the driver, but people nearby.  Often, they bring protection to the roadway itself, and the environment.

In my younger days, I viewed them as bothersome and “in the way”, and did my best to get as many of my car’s tires around the obstacles as possible.  I’ve tried hitting them fast, thinking the quick bump would be less annoying than the slow, yet body jolting, bumpity bumpity as the tires crawl over one by one.  It’s not.  I’ve even taken longer routes to get from point A to point B,  just to avoid a short stretch of speed bump laden roadway.

I’m older now and have found an appreciation for them. Now that I have kids who like to ride their bikes in the neighborhood and throw football to each other across the street, I’ve even thought about secretly installing them in front of my house to slow down our neighbors with lead feet.  I realized that although they used to seem annoying, they really serve an important purpose at getting everyone to slow down and use caution  –  to become more aware of what’s around.

There have been many speed bumps in my spiritual pathway.  In the beginning, they caused me to stray off course easily.  I would do anything to avoid them.  But then there were other times when I hit them so hard, I had to deal with the damaging repercussions as a result.  I wasn’t expecting them, or I didn’t see them because my focus was not on the road in front of me.  Most of the time, I would throw a hissy fit and all out temper tantrum at the placement of those speed bumps.  “Why, why, WHY!!!???”

I’ve been traveling this road for a while now, and am becoming a driver who is more aware of the speed bumps that lie ahead.  Some still catch me off guard, but I don’t see them as annoyances anymore.  I understand that they are placed in my pathway for a reason, and that makes the slowed pace easier to handle and opens my eyes to see more of what’s around at those times.  I know that there will always be speed bumps, and have actually become thankful for them in recent years.  I may not always understand the reason for their placement at the time, but usually down the road a ways, I can look back and see how perfectly they were positioned.

Traffic calming devices?  Yeah, I can see that now.  But I sure didn’t understand it in the beginning.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
                                                                                                                          James 1:2-3

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