…the parched land shall become a pool, and the thirsty lands springs of water…(Isaiah 35:7)

Signs Are Not the Road

Or the Journey

By Rex Goode


What Is Wrong With This Sign?

When I was helping my children learn how to drive, before I ever let them get behind the wheel of my truck, I took them for a ride and had them start calling out to me the content of the signs they saw. At first, I had them call out everything, traffic signs, street signs, speed signs, warnings, billboards, bus stop signs, and advertisements on bus benches. I wanted them to practice knowing what was on the road to provide them with information.

Eventually, I had them just read the signs relevant to driving. When I thought they had the habit of looking at the important signs on the road, then I let them drive.

Sometimes signs carry very important information, not to be missed. One important one in my neighborhood is the flashing neon sign announcing that the light rail train is about to cross the street. There are plenty of stop signs, yields, and the ever-important (to the cops) speed limits.

As important as this information is, you can’t be too deliberate about reading the signs. It has to become a habit that you almost do subconsciously. You can make a lot of enemies on the road if you slow down at every sign to make sure you really know what it is saying.

I don’t have to actually read S-T-O-P to know that the big red octagon means I am supposed to stop. If it didn’t say “STOP” I would probably notice that too. The human brain is fast enough to do that work without having to be so deliberate and methodical about it.

Out on the highway, signs are less frequent, but equally important. We really need to pay attention to things like the silhouette of a deer, “Right Lane Ends”, or those sideways chevrons warning of a very sharp turn. The big difference is that in the city, you have more time to take in the information.

I’ve developed the habit, while waiting at a stop light, to check to see what the speed limit is ahead. I really hate getting speeding tickets. Out on the road where there aren’t signal lights and you’re going over 60, you need to have the ability to see the warnings of the hazards ahead. You have to do this while driving.

Think what a mess and delay it would be if you had to stop at every sign and examine it to see what it meant. Even worse, how it would be if you had to analyze it and speculate as to why the sign was there, what might happen if you ignore it, whether your plans have to change, or what the meaning of the road was.

I think of emotions as being like signs. They warn us of the condition of the road. They give us insight into the decisions we have to make, like which way to turn and how far we have to go. The biggest mistake I think that people make is to confuse the signs with the road or the journey.

Don’t get me wrong. I think feelings are extremely important. They should not only be acknowledged, but shared. The information they provided should definitely be heeded. True intimacy requires an exchange of feelings and thoughts.

The problem is in letting the examination of feelings slow up the journey. Like the absurd idea of stopping at every sign on the road and overthinking its meaning, getting stuck in every emotion can slow personal growth.

Many people have developed an attitude towards feelings that creates a lot of misery. Dwelling on negativity can produce more negativity. Dwelling on too much positivity can allow you to miss important information. Acknowledge the feelings and then get a move on.


2 people like this post.

Leave a Reply

If your comment is a support question, please post it at the forums.