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PowerPosted Monday, January 24, 2011, at 2:42 PM
It happened on Friday, Jan. 14.
I'm driving south on Interstate 65 to a meeting in Louisville. I get seven miles from the bridge when the traffic comes to a standstill.
I've made this trip many times (in fact, 34 times to this same meeting over the course of nine years).
This happens about one in five trips.
There are five lanes of traffic that all come to a stop. I just know that some poor souls on the bridge have had a wreck that has caused great injury to their vehicle, or worse. I worry that the ambulance won't be able to get there in time because of the blocked traffic. I even say a prayer for him/her/them, these unknown people whose misfortune is causing hundreds if not thousands of us to be delayed.
We always think the worst, don't we?
Slowly one lane of traffic begins to move. It stops, but another lane of traffic begins crawling at a snail's pace. This pattern continues for what feels like hours.
Will I have enough gas in my vehicle to eventually get through? In the past I've seen some horrible wrecks on this bridge. How bad will it be this time?
An hour later it finally becomes my turn to get up to the Kennedy Bridge. The police lights are still flashing, but the scene before me is not what I had imagined to find. It seems that an oversized truck either missed or discounted all the signs along the highway about the height restriction of the bridge.
Sure enough, the truck got stuck, and now the police were working with that vehicle to somehow back out of the bridge area and, in reverse, travel a mile to the nearest exit. My prayers of sympathy have first turned into anger but now are causing me to laugh at the chaotic scene before me.
"Idiot," I pronounce in my head as I slowly pass that driver.
Power is not the ability to get something accomplished. That's leadership.
Power is not the capability of reaching a goal on time. That's determination.
Power is the ability of stopping the progress others are making, even keeping a goal from being reached or the successful completion of a project of some kind.
On that day in New Albany the police were not the most powerful force present. On that afternoon my schedule was not the most powerful force in my life.
Rather, a driver of an oversized truck had become the most powerful force in the lives of hundreds of us. Whether intentional or not, that powerful driver nearly kept me from making my meeting (luckily, I try to arrive 90 minutes early because of earlier experiences on that bridge).
It's actually a spiritual issue. Who is, or what are, the most powerful force in your life? What changes, what improvements, and what blessings may not occur because of that use of power?
Most importantly, how will you keep that from happening so that the changes, improvements, and blessings will occur?
P.T. Wilson is the senior pastor at Gobin Memorial United Methodist Church, Greencastle, and is also the University Chaplain at DePauw University.