Hi. I’m Ken Jones and this is A Classic State of Mind, with a word about … Interruptions.
This week was very busy for me. In fact, this week was so busy that in my mind, this week didn’t start “this week.” It started last week, on Friday, as I spent the weekend in St. Louis teaching a group of doctors on the pitfalls of burnout and compassion fatigue. It was a good trip, but last week’s schedule just sort of ‘merged’ into this week’s stuff. My flight home from St. Louis on Tuesday evening was delayed some, and I didn’t get in until very late. And my schedule on Wednesday was so full I wasn’t sure how I’d get everything done.
I knew I’d need an early start on Wednesday morning, so even though I was a bit weary, my feet hit the floor at 5:30 a.m. just like usual. A shower, as usual. One cup of black coffee, as usual. A focused time of reading The Book, praying, journaling before I left for the drive to my office, as usual.
But there’s only one way to describe the ‘usual’ drive to my office on Wednesday, and that would be: Unusual.
I noticed, as I pulled onto the highway toward my office that there were road signs indicating work on the road. “Flagman Ahead,” read one sign. “Roadwork Ahead,” read another. I hoped the work on the road wouldn’t cause me to be late getting to my office. But, I believe my attitude was reasonably calm. As I drove into this new day, I asked God to help me deal with the minor ‘interruption’ of slow traffic.
Another road sign, this one indicating two lanes would now merge into one lane. “Right lane closed ahead,” read a sign. And then, an even more obvious large, orange sign that only had one word on it:“Slow” I hate slow, especially when I need to be in the gear of ‘hurry.’ But the sign said ‘Slow,’ and like a group of obedient playground children, all the drivers ahead of me slowed, as I fell into that line, slowing down, too. We all slowed down and finally came to a halt. Traffic stopped. “Flagman, ahead,” I guessed. Must have stopped the traffic.
Well, the flagman ahead didn’t stop ALL the traffic. The car behind me — the one being driven by the young woman about twenty — didn’t slow down like the signs said. In fact, she didn’t stop, either. As I sat in my truck, still as a statue in stopped traffic, the car behind me, moving at an estimated 55-60 miles an hour slammed into the rear of my vehicle. And my ride to my office was … interrupted.
I wasn’t seriously injured, thank God. My truck was totaled. But I wasn’t seriously injured. And neither was the young driver of the other car. I got a ride to the hospital in an ambulance to have x-rays and CT scans of my neck and back. The ER doctor said all was clear, from the looks of things. “But, you’ll be sore for awhile,” he said. He was right. Soreness interrupted my next several days.
I’m on the mend, now. The accident could have been so much worse. But since Wednesday morning when almost all the traffic slowed on the drive to my office, I have to be honest: I’m a bit nervous sitting at red lights waiting my turn. Wednesday’s accident did more than impact my truck; it impacted my thinking.
I was busy doing ‘life as usual,’ thinking like I usually think, driving like I usually drive. Thankfully, I noticed the ‘slow-down’ signs on the road. But I’m not sure I always see the ‘slow-down’ signs in my LIFE. My usual Wednesday was totally blindsided by an ‘un-usual’ crash. I’ve had time to reflect and think since Wednesday’s ‘interruption’ in my life. I’m gonna slow down and pay better attention to those divine interruptions, and the signs I see all around me that may be alerting me to a lane-change that I need to make, or pointing me toward Heaven’s Flagman who directs my every step.