Nothing More – (The Alternate Routes)
Red Light!… Green Light!… It was one of the games played when I was growing up. A lot of games I played were outdoors because the smartphones were just not around yet when I was a kid and I like to thank God for that just about every time I think about it…but this was a game where one person would act as the “stop light” and everyone else playing the game would line up ways away from that person. The stop light would be facing away from the players and yell out “Green Light!” and the goal for the players was to be the first to reach the stop light. But at any moment the stop light could turn around and yell “Red Light!” and the players have to come to a stop. Anyone caught moving and not paying enough attention can be called out and lose the game. I was reminded of this game when I started thinking back on this story…I think sometimes it’s easy for us to get so busy with our lives that we don’t pay attention and we don’t realize how we need to look for the signs…we need to look for the red lights and know when to use the green lights. When we speak to each other we need to know when to stop and listen, when to go, and how to speak. I think God helps us with that…He provides us the “yellow light”. God can help us slow down and take time and think about how we react to and treat other people.
This is a story that literally involves a 3-way stop light in Oxford, MS years ago…I remember my day was already off to kind of a bad start…I was running late everywhere I was going and I was catching every red light (We’ve all had those days!) I was driving south on N. 9th Street and wanting to make a left turn to head east down University Avenue. Well this 3 way intersection piles up quick because the next light after you turn left is a very short distance away…Oxford traffic can be chaotic sometimes because the town expands and grows at such an incredible rate but improving the infrastructure has never been first on the city’s list (not entirely the city’s fault, it’s a pretty old town). So on this day my light is green to make a left turn but I can see the lane on University Avenue is piling up to where I could be stuck right in the middle of this intersection blocking traffic unless I wait for the red light…but the day I was having I went for it and of course I get stuck and stopped right in the middle of the 3-way intersection…the light turns red directly above my head as I am staring at it and the “do not block” sign….the traffic lane on University is not moving…I’m blocking traffic in every direction…and that’s when I hear the melody of all the car horns start calling out my name…what happened next was one of my most embarrassing moments of my character I think I have ever had…
In the middle of the heat and horns blaring at me the guy in the car trying to get through University Avenue, the street I was blocking, rolls his window down and starts yelling at me so I was like “Ok” and I rolled down my window and yelled out, “WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO! I CAN’T GO ANYWHERE!” (because I really couldn’t) Then he yells out a few four letter words and thats when I lost it…I think I yelled back every word I could think of…I was making up words…and all the cars around us could now hear the yelling between me and this man…I was so mad that in my head I was saying this man picked the wrong day to mess with me so I even take it a step further. I am about to get out of my car and approach this man, I didn’t care anymore…the light was probably about to turn green any second, my lane was probably about to start moving and this whole situation was probably going to be forgotten about in the next 20 seconds…but me being an idiot and out of control at the moment over a mistake that I made I go to open my car door and try to start a fight with this man…but…I acted so quickly that I never put my car in park so as soon as I open my door to get out, I take my foot of the brake and then I slam into the back of a cadillac in front of me……..do you think this story could get worse? It does…there is a cop already on the scene…I’m guessing he was sitting in the line…so once traffic starts moving I have to pull over with the cop, the driver of the cadillac I just hit…and into a church parking lot of all places!…and the driver that I was yelling at just drives by pointing and laughing at me….man I was so embarrassed…I felt like God was teaching me a major lesson on this day. I remember I apologized to the officer and to the person I ran into over and over and just felt terrible about the way I acted. And the guy in that car I was yelling at, that was his ony impression of who I was…It only took me about a minute to lose complete control but God reminded me of the yellow light…
Have you ever lost control in a situation and said things you regret? How should we talk each other? Does the language we use every day affect other people? Is there a way we can learn to speak to each other in a loving way even in tough situations? How can we do this? How can we learn to pay attention to the signs so we don’t open up our big mouths and lose control? Will responding peacefully towards strangers really make a difference?
“To be humble, to be kind. It is the giving of the peace in your mind. To a stranger, to a friend, to give in such a way that has no end. We are love, we are one, we are how we treat each other when the day is done. We are peace, we are war, we are how we treat each other and nothing more.”
The Alternate Routes are an American rock band from Bridgeport, Connecticut. The band was formed by Tim Warren and Eric Donnelly in 2002 while studying at Fairfield University. After the Sandy Hook elementary tragic shooting, the band was asked to write a song for the Connecticut non-profit Newtown Kindness…and Nothing More was written. This song has become an anthem for organizations worldwide, including being featured as part of the closing ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Olympics on NBC. It even earned them the rank of #92 on the iTunes US charts. When asked about their song, Warren and Donnelly said, “These lyrics…they just seem to jump right out to people…it just seems like there is such a need for it, all around us…”
Colossians 4:6 | Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.
What’s that phrase we always hear? “Think Before You Speak.” It’s a good one to “think” about. The way we speak…what if we spoke with grace?…that is exactly how I did not respond but exactly how I wish I had…This verse along with the one at the bottom are my two favorite verses that describe our language and how we talk to each other. I think I often write about how we need to love each other but I never talk about our language to each other…it is one the best ways to love each other. The ways we speak to each other is so important…to our friends, family, girlfriend, boyfriend, spouses, kids, coworkers, teachers, etc….I love how it says our speech should be with grace, as though “seasoned with salt”. Now I don’t know about you but I love salt…I put it one everything…imagine if we thought about our speech in the same way? If we spoke with grace to one another then we would have conversations over pouring with love for each other. I remember when I was little, me and my friend were swimming and throwing the football in my pool and my mom happened to be outside. I threw the football and my friend, who was treading water in the deep end, didn’t catch it and I yelled out a four letter word that I knew right away my mom heard it…so I just went under water and held my breath as long as I could hoping she would forget it and go away! But when I came up for air she was standing on the edge of the pool and I was in trouble…
Since that day I had in traffic I have really worked hard to work on my language and I will never be perfect with it…I am still going to slip up here and there but I have really tried to make a good effort at changing the way I speak. I just think it is so important and often we can forget that…we can get used to not using the salt. Sometimes we just talk like we all have a big green light, like we all have the right answers but sometimes we need to slow it down and pay attention to the approaching red lights…it’s ok to catch them every once in awhile. I have said from day one I don’t have all the right answers…I just want to help and get us thinking about the importance of love and how it can really create positive change…God does have the right answers…He’s our yellow light. He can give us words like honey, sweet to the soul and healthy for the body. He can help us use the language of = LOVE. Nothing is impossible…
(Listen below to Nothing More by The Alternate Routes)
(Feature post photo by Sai Kiran Anagani)
If you are just joining Ten Days In Love and missed any previous posts click the links below: