Learning to Love the Red Lights

“I hate red lights.”

It was Cooter, piping up from the back seat.


Well yeah, we were at a red light.  And we were running tight on time.

In true Tara time.

I was born late.  Several days past my due date.  And I’ve been trying to catch up ever since.  (Or so my folks always told me.)

Running at the last possible minute.  Just about–oh, pretty much always.

So I’m sure my little guy’s strong feelings of dislike for red lights comes from me and my impatience with them when we are on our OutandAbouts and NEED to be somewhere.


I am sad about that.  As his words echoed in my head, I realized that red lights can be good.  They make me look around, outside myself.

When I am at red lights, I have a moment to breathe, right where I am, before continuing on my journey.

Red lights are not for or against anyone–they turn red on the just and the unjust.  Everyone gets a turn to stop and a turn to go.  Eventually.  Though I am waiting, others are able to go ahead.  And that’s the ebb and flow of life.  It’s not all about me.  We all get our turn.  Eventually.

Finally, when I am sitting at a red light, it’s the only time when I am on the road that I am able to make eye contact and remember that there are other PEOPLE on the road.  It’s not just me and my destination.  The road carries many stories.  And for a moment at that red light, our stories intersect and join.  And then we are all off again, headed to the next chapter.

Tonight I am thankful for family time in the Go-mobile, for that time where conversations are a little different, and maybe even at times a bit more focused.  I am thankful for the thoughts of my children, which make me think, and inspire me to become a better person–if for no other reason than to become the parent they deserve for me to be.

And I even appreciate red lights.  For the times they make me slow down, breathe, remember who I am, whom I am with, and for making me look around outside myself and outside my vehicle.  And see. Others.

May we all have a day of appreciating the red lights in our lives.  Love to all.



2 thoughts on “Learning to Love the Red Lights”

  1. Great reminder. Why does it feel as if things/the universe is conspiring against us when we hit all the red lights and that all is right with the world when they are green? What would it feel like if we looked at it the opposite. That all was right with the world when we get those few extra minutes at our red lights to stop and enjoy life and feel like we are missing out at the green lights when we have no time to stop and “smell the roses?”

    1. Wow. That is very interesting. I think it could change our anxiety levels, that’s for sure. Not completely related, but I used to say Thank You God when we hit all green lights taking my oldest to school a couple of years ago (and were therefore right on time). Which was fine, I guess. The problem was that when the lights were red, I then felt almost persecuted, definitely put upon, and could not say thank you. Once I quit attributing every green light I hit to God, I quit feeling angry about the red ones. I quit feeling like someone was “out to get me.” Ridiculous maybe, but it has helped me appreciate where I am in the moment a little more–red light or green.
      Thank you so much for enlightening me with your point of view. Your sharing is much appreciated!

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