It had been a busy day and it was already late afternoon. I was on my way to a private event in a remote town nestled in the mountains. I felt layers of stress peel away from my shoulders as the miles peeled away under the wheels of the car. The sun had begun its descent in the sky and I rolled down the windows, breathing in the first hint of Spring already lingering in the air.
I glanced at my watch and felt the tension return. Time was running short. I gripped the steering wheel tightly and maneuvered the car along the winding, curving, two-lane road leading to my destination. Suddenly, the stretches of green fields and low-hanging trees gave way to old, Victorian-style homes. Looking ahead, I could see that there was one lone red-light at a crossroads a few hundred feet away. It had been green when I had slowed from 55 to 25, but as I came closer I winced, as the light turned to a deep, no-way-you-could-ignore-it red.
There were no cars coming in either direction and I eased up to the front position at the red-light, willing it to change quickly. No such luck. While waiting, I absentmindedly turned my head in the direction of the passenger's door and through the side window I noticed an antique store on the corner. It had row upon row of ticking clocks, many with wildly-swinging pendulums. Some of them appeared older than others, their faces containing Roman Numerals. A few digital clocks brashly stood out and a cuckoo clock had been carefully placed on a pedestal.
I swung my attention out the driver's window and watched as a young mother sitting at an outdoor cafe table smiled and giggled with her toddler, who was swaddled in pink from head-to-toe. An older couple walking their dog approached the two. As the little girl gleefully reached her hand for the dog, it leaned forward and licked her face, and I couldn't help but laugh along with them all at the little girl's squeal of delight.
Across the street in front of me, there was a beautiful park and I watched as a young boy studiously concentrated on the basketball goal that loomed far over his head. He focused on making the foul shot and succeeded at least half the time. While watching the young boy's determination, my attention was suddenly caught by the changing light from red to green.
As I drove the final few miles to my event, I reflected on what I would have missed if the green light had held. Oftentimes we are in such a hurry! We pray for things to go easier, for circumstances not to slow us down or deter us, let alone stop us; we pray for the green light. But it is oftentimes the blocks, the red-light of life, that give us the greatest opportunities, the greatest joys, if we would but embrace the block and look at what's around us.
So, as you go through your week, pay attention to those times you feel pressured or under the gun. And when life gives you a red-light, look for the timeless treasure; the opportunity to laugh; and the focused determination that all can be found at the intersection where you and your life ultimately meet.