Posted by: molly | January 27, 2010

Heeding the Signs

Today when I was driving to the store I noticed a sign along Edwards Road that said “Railroad Crossing Closed.”  I drove the next couple of miles and found out that the railroad crossing was closed.  Go figure.  So I followed the 2 cars in front of me in a half “K-turn” to head back from where I had just come from, only consoled by the fact that there were 2 people in front of me and 3 people behind me who apparently didn’t understand what the sign “Railroad Crossing Closed” meant also.

As I drove an alternate route through the backroads of Taylors I laughed at myself for my stupidity–the sign said exactly what it meant and yet a combination of curiosity and disbelief convinced me to try that route anyhow.

Now, I don’t mean to sound like an over-zealous pastor who seeks to find a spiritual application to all of life’s happenings.  And yet, as I drove away chuckling at myself, I began to think of the consequences of not following road signs.  Having to turn around on a sparsely populated, blocked off road is really no big deal–just a minor inconvenience.  And yet road signs are used to alert us of much more hazardous conditions–like randomly stopping lanes on major roads (don’t you love driving in South Carolina?).  Or maybe one of those red signs that say STOP to alert you that people may be about to crash into the side of you if you are not careful.  Signs are huge and colorful for a reason–to let us know that they are there.

Signs are used to help us avoid danger.  Let me clarify this:  I am not advocating that we use “signs” to represent avoiding things that could lead to sin.  Lest anyone think I am saying that you should never hold hands with your boyfriend so you don’t end up having sex before you are married let us rethink this analogy.  I do not avoid every road that has a stop sign or a sign to alert me of a lane ending–they just help me to know that there is danger ahead so the appropriate action can be taken when the need arises.   Signs work much like the wisdom given to us from those who have been there before us, helping us avoid actual danger when the need arises.

Experience is a great teacher–a totally blocked off railroad crossing brought significant meaning to the phrase “Railroad Crossing Closed”–and yet learning from someone else’s mistakes at times is a whole lot easier.  So perhaps, instead of disbelieving what the transportation department of Greenville has to say, it may be better just to heed the signs.

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