Muscle memory kicked into action last week as my car topped the hill. Without even thinking, my right foot shifted to the brake pedal and eased down a bit as I continued toward the bottom.
Much like the experience on a roller coaster, traveling over and down this hill builds speed (even without pressing the gas) and takes you at least 20 miles over the marked speed limit by the time you get to the bottom.
Slowing the vehicle down while rolling into the quaint section of shops and businesses is vital to avoid zipping through the area and potentially causing an accident.
I learned this lesson the first time I topped the hill nearly 30 years ago — when the kind police officer explained it to me.
His grace for letting me off with a warning, his awareness that I was unfamiliar with the area and his willingness to take the time to explain why it mattered remains with me today.
So, out of concern for the people who could be harmed if I didn’t obey the speed limit as well as returning the respect and courtesy a stranger showed me, I automatically press the brake and make sure my car stays at 25 mph or below on that hill.
It always intrigues me how simple experiences like this can teach us significant life lessons and give us opportunities to be better.
I also wonder what could have happened if the officer had not been at the bottom of the hill that day.
Would I eventually have noticed the speed limit on my own? Would I have been as dedicated to sticking to it without the encounter with the officer?
Or what if a different officer had been on duty?
Would the experience have been as pleasant? Would I be sharing the story these nearly three decades later? Would I even remember it?
No matter our profession, where we find ourselves on any given day nor how well we know a person, we truly have endless opportunities to make a difference in several lives each week.
Looking beyond ourselves
It means being intentional, staying aware, looking beyond ourselves and praying for God’s guidance in the who, what, when and where.
The temptation will sometimes be to dictate instructions, share strong opinions and be adamant about next steps, even when we don’t have all the information needed to truly understand a situation.
But what if we pull back, stay in constant communication with the Lord, watch for those He brings into our path and then follow His leading rather than our own?
What’s an experience in your past that made a significant impression on you? How did it help you grow as a person?
Are you able to connect it to your faith journey and find a thread that led to who you are today? What’s one way you can make a difference for someone in your life this week?