Sometimes, precautions and safety measures put in place to “protect” people actually cause the danger to arise, bringing forth the very thing they are hoping to stop from happening…
The other morning, I was driving my daughter to school. It was abnormally dark for that time of the day because the sky was clustered with heavy, dark storm clouds that blocked out the light of the rising sun. I was actually having difficulty seeing because of the combination of darkness and rain. My windshield wipers were frantically swiping, in an attempt to keep the surface clean, but it seemed to not be helping.
About 100 feet ahead of us was a school bus. Here in Utah, someone decided to install blinding strobe lights atop the yellow beasts so now, when you’re near them in the dark, it’s like driving in a nightclub and is just about as distracting. This particular bus was slowing to a stop so, not only was the light on its roof pulsating like some angry god, but the brilliant red brake lights had come on, as well as all the little strips of yellow lights that outlined the structure of the vehicle against the inky sky.
It was a lot of visual stimulation and even my daughter commented on the excessive nature of their “safety” lights.
Then a couple things happened simultaneously…
The stop signs running along the side of the bus came out just as I was nearly parallel with the bus and the two red lights on each of the four signs began flashing alternatively on each sign. I was driving through a crosswalk, already passing the stopping bus.
As I crossed the track of white lines, I finally noticed the pedestrian that was nearly to the middle of the street in the crosswalk and only about five feet from my car. I was startled and gasped. I had been so distracted by all the glitzy, flashy lights of the rolling discotheque, I had failed to see the one thing all those lights were meant to protect: pedestrians. Had I been two seconds later in my journey, I quite possibly could have still missed seeing the pedestrian until after I hit him, the precautions the school district had taken were that distracting.
The lessons in this are varied…
The one I’m going with today is this… often times humans get really scared about something that could happen and so they begin building fortresses, installing security lights, and planting signs of warning against the impending doom. They put on armor, carry shields and swords, and are on constant alert against some danger that may or may not ever show up, but they’re prepared. What can happen though, all those precautions frequently are guarding against not only possible crisis, but against life itself. It keeps out love, connection, relationship, success. It is impossible to be fully alive while distracted with the building of an impenetrable empire. And while you’re focused on building the walls in the back quarter, it is quite possible that the threat you feared most is seeping in through the front, but you don’t know that because you are paying attention to putting energy into making sure you – and everyone else – is safe with all the flashing lights.
I ask you, are there precautions you’ve put into place that are actually distracting you, instead of protecting you? Are there old beliefs and behavior patterns that were once necessary to survive but have morphed into a perilous, rolling discotheque? In what ways are your beliefs putting you in jeopardy, rather than serving you?
I always welcome your thoughts, questions, and comments.
Feel free to jot down what you’re thinking in the comment box below.