Every Red Light
I drive often along a stretch of Maple Road from my home to the gym where I take my favorite spin classes [shout out to Core Cycl]. It’s a two-lane stretch for miles, and somehow, some days, I hit every red light along the way.
It doesn’t matter if I’m running late and need to get there for the start of class, or if I have all the time in the world. Those red lights wait for me and shine bright.
And I know there’s a message in them.
It’s frustrating, yes, to not be able to breeze through on green. It can almost feel like someone’s out to get me, to thwart my plans, to halt me on my mission.
Of course, I know that’s not true. But I love the metaphor.
As a family law attorney, I see the message in the madness. Or in the red lights, that is.
There are bumps along the road to divorce. You can know your marriage is not working, you can even agree to part ways. You can think it will be amicable and even intend for it to be so. And yet, there will be bumps in the road, yellow lights slowing you down and red lights stopping you along the way.
Jolts to the smooth journey you’d hoped for. Abrupt stops, redirects, before the green light letting you speed through on a straight trajectory.
So many mornings, I am convinced I can make it through the next few lights before another one turns red – and then I realize how wrong I am. I have no control. The light may turn red even if I wish and pray and cross my fingers for it to stay green.
Sometimes, we fool ourselves into letting someone else drive because we think they’ll have better luck catching the lights. And they don’t.
Then, when you’re on the home stretch, it looks like it’s going to be a smooth road, but it’s actually really bumpy from all the ice and salt of a brutal winter and you don’t see the bumps until you’re sloshing through them, too late to swerve to avoid them.
This road I drive, it appears perfectly paved, there are big houses on both sides, wide enough to keep traffic steady and convenient to cut through to get to my neighborhood – but we take bumps along the way nonetheless. Rather than look for a way out, I’ve learned to accept the lessons in the journey.
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