When You Can’t See…

speedbump

This is part of a church parking lot near my residence. It is on a route I commonly run as part of my fitness routine. Due to my schedule, I often get up at 0-dark-thirty, braving the cold to run in the morning. There are some lights around, so it’s not completely black. I discovered one morning they had added this feature to the road connecting two lots. I didn’t see it. Imagine running along in the solitude of your thoughts, listening to an old Boston record, then suddenly finding yourself face down on pavement! That fast it jumped up and grabbed my passing foot. (I realized later these had replaced some that were there before, but had been painted with stripes so they stood out in low light.)

My iPhone took the brunt of it. I am nothing if not determined, so I got up, shook it off and ambled on, the inconvenience of darkness suddenly transformed into a protective cloak preventing anyone from seeing my dumb move.

It occurred to me later that when you’re unable to see them, mere speed bumps become stumbling blocks. Getting blindsided is emotionally taxing in the moment, but generally illuminating as we get some distance and reflect. Never one to pass up a good metaphor, I thought about some ways this impacts our lives.

  • An automobile accident – Even the person not at fault will play it back to see if there could have been a way to be more observant, to avoid it. Maybe more alert next time.
  • A hurtful word or phrase – spoken in haste, without proper regard to for the message the hearer takes away. Slow down and think it through before letting emotions carry you too far.
  • An unwanted business or political outcome – Were you wrong, incompetent, or apathetic? What can you do better next time?
  • A breach of trust – Was the trust well grounded?
  • A personal setback – We you trying to leap beyond your means, or was it other circumstances you should have been able to see?

Getting back up and getting on your feet is the easier part. The real key is in taking the lesson being offered to you. Not just during the time of heightened awareness produced by the emotions, but in an embodying, long-lasting way. Some would call that wisdom.

 

 

 

 

 

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