Breaking the Rules

I was standing at a busy downtown intersection the other day. The light had turned green and the other pedestrians and I had started to cross, but midway through the intersection, a car came to a screeching halt. We all turned to see the fuss. As it turns out, a bicyclist didn’t yield. He blew through the red light, swerved to avoid the car, and kept his stride and his schedule. He broke the rules. He kept going. The driver that almost ran him over was the hero of this thankless non-event. And his extraordinary talent? It wasn’t that he slammed on his brakes at precisely the right moment to avoid a possible fatality. He was paying attention.


I wonder how many accidents we avoid by simply paying attention? When we tune into our surroundings, and include the life around us, what do we notice? 

I’m thinking about how many times the traffic light at that intersection turns from red to green and back to red, signaling to all of us to Stop, Go, Slow Down, Stop, Go, Slow Down … The rules of the law help us determine flow and right of way. But what is our personal traffic light like? What directs our internal flow? How long do we stay on go before we stop? When do we slow down? With life making so many demands on each of us, how do we ever determine what in us has the right of way?

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