As I drove down Moore Street toward Main Street recently I realized that school had just let out. A couple of kids were walking on the sidewalk, and a quick check of my car clock confirmed that it was indeed that time of the afternoon.
As I approached the light at Main Street it turned red. Only one car was in front of me, so it was obvious that when the light turned green I would get through the light and continue toward the entrance to the church.
But then I saw the little boy with the blue backpack approaching the intersection. He was a cute little guy, struggling a bit under the weight of both his backpack and his spring jacket.
As he got close to the intersection I then saw the crossing guard emerge and begin to walk over to him. She was getting ready to do her important job: helping this little guy get across Main Street safely.
In order to do that she had to stop traffic in all directions, for the car in front of me wanted to turn left, and that would be in his path. So the guard clearly stopped all traffic both ways, and then started walking with the little guy across the street. Though “my” light had since turned green, we were all stopped for this street crosser.
Now it isn’t THAT far across the street…unless you’re a small kid with a large backpack. So his journey from one side to the other was a bit slow: especially in the opinion of the driver behind me.
Suddenly a loud horn beeped from his car and I looked in my rear view mirror to see a clearly exasperated man realizing that not only would he NOT get through the light this time, but he would have to wait until the light turned green again!! He raised both hands in frustration and ran one hand through his hair, in obvious anger.
He’ll never know it, but he reminds us of an important spiritual lesson.
For he teaches us that we must be very careful how we judge other people on the journey of faith.
For the truth is that we are all “moving” at a different pace on our faith journey.
Some of us are moving right along at a quick pace, confident and self-assured.
Some are more cautious and so are “traveling” deliberately.
Some haven’t had the benefit of early spiritual training, so that each “step” is new and challenging.
Some have lost their way over the years of the journey and are just getting back “on track”.
Yet others carry a heavy emotional or spiritual “backpack” and thus can’t make very quick progress.
So since it is true that we are ALL traveling at our own spiritual pace, we need to remember that it is never useful to judge another person traveling at THEIR pace. It just doesn’t work to “beep our horns” at people who are spiritually traveling at a different pace than we are, or than we wish THEY would be.
Let us encourage each other to continue on the spiritual journey, for it is a journey we ALL must take.
But let us respect and accept that pace at which we each travel.
Yes, the little guy with the blue backpack got across the street.
And the horn blowing from the guy behind me didn’t make him go one bit faster!!