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Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Counting penniesPosted Tuesday, May 24, 2011, at 4:58 PM
It happened two weeks ago.
I was returning from a funeral in Columbus, Indiana, and driving on the west side of Indianapolis on Interstate 70.
There is an electronic sign that gives traffic information and it announced that a wreck at the 72.5 mile marker was blocking the west bound lanes and that all traffic had stopped.
I kept on driving. I could have pulled off on several exits and by-passed that area. But the rest of the traffic kept moving in that direction. Even the trucks kept traveling this route. Surely they would know from their CB radios if the lanes were still blocked. I wasn't going to be the only person to be inconvenienced and take a detour because of a sign that must not have been current.
I kept going.
Until the 73 mile marker when all of us came to a stop.
For over an hour.
I got so bored that I started cleaning out my new briefcase. I got so bored that I tried calling several people on my cell phone in what must be the only section of Indianapolis that the towers don't reach. I got so bored that I started counting all the change I had thrown into my beverage holders.
There was $6.37. Most of it was in pennies.
And then I started getting mad at myself. I could hear my poor departed mother's voice saying "would you jump in the river because everyone else did?" How many times did she ask me that about things I did as a kid when I justified my misdeeds by saying everyone else did it.
I had been given a clear sign of what was ahead. I had several opportunities for taking exits from this situation I now found myself in. I didn't listen. I wasn't wise. I was now stuck and wasting time.
I soon realized this was a spiritual situation. How many of us continue to smoke knowing about the real dangers of cancer? "But all my friends are doing it." How many of us use the Internet to invite images that eventually compete and harm our intimate relationships with our partners? How many of us use our credit cards for that instant gratification knowing full well that we're nearing our credit card limits and not saving for a real emergency need or a "rainy day?" How many of us continue using substances that are changing our personalities and our abilities as our denial leads us down the path of addiction?
"Everyone else is doing it!"
Thank God there are the signs all around us.
When are we going to be wise?
P.T. Wilson is the senior pastor at Gobin Memorial United Methodist Church, Greencastle, and is also the University Chaplain at DePauw University.