Word of the Week

Any Value in Traffic?

Being a part of the Washington DC community means that you spent at least a good portion of your week seeking to plan around, avoid and no matter if you like it or not sitting in traffic.

In fact, Forbes Magazine has said that in 2009 DC tops the list!

Friends of mine in other places often ask why I love living in this region of the country for the very reason that they've heard the traffic is so bad. "Doesn't it drive you crazy?" they ask.

Well, there are times that it does, especially considering that my husband and I both do not live in the community where we work (yet have reverse commutes so it isn't that bad).

There are times that I want to get to church or downtown and then look at my watch and say, "Now that's stupid. You better stay put for a couple more hours or be prepare yourself theavy-traffic-i95o stay in your car for a while longer." This is annoying, but there just isn't any way around it.

It is about the joy of living in such a vibrant city and community. It is about having the best of both worlds- good jobs in the suburbs and city living on the weekends.

And, I have to say that there is a part of me that enjoys the game of "fighting the traffic." You know, finding "secret" ways to get home. Or, having my patterns of what route to take to get to church depending on the time of day that I'm trying to go. And, having opportunities to share my new found knowledge with newcomers making me feel more and more like a real Washingtonian every year I'm here.

But, beyond all of this, I've been thinking lately about valuable things about traffic.

Traffic seems to slow me down. It reminds me that even as much as I am in a hurry to get somewhere, most of the time, life tends to have other plans for me than I have for myself.

Traffic reminds me that it is not all about getting more accomplished in one day than I could possibly ever imagine. Sometimes it is good just to be.

Traffic reminds me to look at the land that surrounds the road I travel each day. There is really beauty in creation that our point A, point B, point C travel plans often keep us from seeing sometimes.

Traffic reminds me that there are more people in my community than I ever recognize. Sometimes it takes a construction zone with 10 miles an hour pace to help me to see those who are my neighbors.

I say all of this not to over spiritualize traffic. Goodness, no. There are times when it frustrates me to grand level. There are times that I wish I just took the bus or the  metro more often.

But, maybe at the end of the day, in our most frustrated driving moments, there is hope for all of us to recognize God, recognize our fellow humanity from the traffic zone.  God is closer to us than we might ever would have imagined. God coming to us in the clogged roadways and construction filled highways. God desiring to be with us no matter what.