Thursday, January 17, 2008

Green Means Go, Red means Stop

I have always been one of those drivers who talk to the other people on the road, even though they cannot hear me. My daughter has grown up listening to her dad while sitting at the light that has now changed, saying "Green means go, what do you want, a written invitation?"

So now I drive a school bus, and of course I often talk to drivers who still cannot hear me, but now my audience is quite a bit larger.

Yesterday however there was no audience to hear my rants. I pulled to my first stop on my High School run. This is a left hand load, the child, in this case a 6th grader is on my left and must cross two lanes of traffic to get on the bus. It is one of the more dangerous loads we bus drivers have and we all take them VERY seriously. As I pulled towards my stop, the young man was standing there waiting. I put on my yellow flashing lights just as I am supposed to. This is to caution other drivers that I am about to stop, and there are children present that they need to watch for. Sure enough a car is coming up to me from the front hoping to make a left hand turn into the elementary school. So I motion for the young man to stay where he is at, which he does. Then I motion for the car to go, since its better to have no car, then to rely on someone actually doing what they are supposed to do. The car does not move. "OK, yellow means you can go" I say to the driver. He does not budge. I wave frantically to get his attention and flag him around the corner..... He does not budge. "OK, have it your way" and on come the red lights, but something inside me says NO, and I don't give the signal for the child to cross. Sure enough, as soon as the red lights came on, the car went right through the intersection..... RED MEANS STOP

I was laughing when the young man got on the bus, and so was he. We talked about this for a few minutes as we drove to the next stop. As we approached the next stop, this one on the right, the young man sitting behind me notices the steady stream of oncoming traffic, "Do you think they will stop?" he asks. "No" I reply, "This is Dinsmore, people don't have time to stop" [Dinsmore is an upscale neighborhood].

Sure enough, as our next pickup was happening and the red lights flashed, 3 cars tooled on past, not even bothering to slow down.

Now this would not be note worthy, just another day in the life of driving a school bus, but last night at church, the theme of the sermon kind of hit me. Our minister, Kim, was explaining that she had been sick for the last week, and didn't have time to prepare a "new" sermon so she was recycling an old one which seemed to fit. Basically it was about how people were not created to run 24/7, they were created in God's image, and he only worked 6 days and then took the next day off. Therefore so should we. There was more to it then that, but in a nutshell, if we don't take a bit of time off, we end up flat on our backs for a week trying to recover from pneumonia.

Several years ago, I was involved with a children's worship service where I wrote a new service for each Sunday for a year. I remember that during that time I always woke up at 4:00 am. I would not always get up at that time, but I would lay there and think, and plan, and contemplate. Then it would be off to the computer for another hour of mindless games, looking at Ebay, or some other thing. It was my down time, my time to STOP. These days I get up at 5 to pick up my first child by 6:15 am. I still wake up before the alarm every morning, sometimes an hour, sometimes a few minutes and stop, and think. Also I find that if I don't have this time in the morning, I either need it between runs..... or get very cranky by evening. (And the Mountain Man get be a BIG bear when he's cranky).

So as Kim told of her experiences, I wondered about the people who cannot STOP on RED. I believe whole heartedly that God shows us everyday things for a purpose, that when we see the sun rising or frost crystals on the windshield, he is showing us the beauty that he has created for us. Kim obviously thought that pneumonia was God's way of saying STOP. So when these people come across a bus with its red lights flashing, maybe that too is God's way of saying STOP, take a moment, hang up the cell phone, take a breath, look at the bird in the tree or the duck on the pond and realize that we really are not supposed to run 24/7. Hopefully they will make it to work without a bigger reminder coming at them. Hopefully they will wake up the next day with the ability to breathe and not have to spend a week with people telling you that people die from complications of pneumonia. Hopefully they will....

Take a moment and remember Red means STOP.


Dene said...

Read your blog over twice, so I would be sure to remember the moral of your little story (and because I enjoyed reading it so much). You have a wonderful writing style, the words just seem to flow...Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I so agree. When we STOP there is so much to see. Without the stops, we're missing life. And I like that morning time too, before everything gets turned to 'go'. Enjoyed your post. Vee