Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Traffic Jam Ahead

One year my husband, daughter, and I drove from New Jersey to Guatemala. Although I am not a good passenger, I had little problem traveling through the United States, but traveling in Mexico, and especially in Guatemala, raised my adrenaline levels to all-time highs. I never realized how much I had taken bridges and guardrails for granted.

We had to cross several rivers to get to our Mayan village in the highlands. One day we came upon a traffic jam caused by a pickup stalled in the river. Not being the ones stuck, nor being in any particular hurry, we took advantage of the situation to get some pictures of a typical day on the road. After a short delay, the truck recovered and continued across the river; no one worse for wear.

The minor interruption in my journey had not caused me any distress back then, but yesterday as I listened to the news, I wondered how I would have responded had I been in the midst of the 11-day traffic jam in China. There would have been no overhead signs warning me of a delay up ahead, no chance to exit the two-lane road, no bathroom! no blankets, no food, except for what the enterprising villagers provided. Just totally, unexpectedly stuck, with no idea what was ahead or what was behind.

A British couple described how they were happily aglow as they returned from a romantic vacation only to come to a sudden, days-long stop in the thick of the heat, diesel fumes, and irate travelers. In the turn of a minute, everything changed. Their lives and plans caught up in the collective repercussions of an event sixty miles down the road.

Unforeseen traffic jams, floods, catastrophes . . . .

The thing is, I was considering all of this as I was floating in my pool. The contrast between what my body was experiencing and what my mind was thinking stirred up a sense of guilt, which threatened to drown the pleasantry of the moment. Should I be enjoying myself when others are suffering, I wondered.

Then clearly, the very paraphrased lesson from a passage of Scripture (which I'd appreciate if anyone knows where it is) came to mind: No one knows what is ahead. But if I cannot and do not praise and thank God in the good times, how will I have the strength to do it in the bad?

I rolled over, floated on my back, and called to the depths of the deep blue sky.

Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Psalm 103:1

1 comment:

  1. Love this piece, Marcia. A wonderful treatment of a complex issue!

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