I wrote the other day about what makes us slow down. I used an example of how, whenever I drive down a certain part of a certain road, my foot automatically hits the brake. Not because of the condition of the road or anything like that, but because I know that the police often hide in certain spots…just waiting to catch someone driving way over the speed limit.
Which happens often on that road.
The more I thought about it, though, the more I realized that perhaps there is more to be learned than simply slowing down.
Because maybe, just maybe, we should also think about avoidance.
I feel that I’m not really the one to talk about this because my actions don’t always line up with what I’m going to say.
Right this moment I should be taking a test, writing an essay for a scholarship, or cleaning my room.
Those would all be good things to do, but I’m here writing instead.
Avoidance. It’s something I’m really good at when I try.
See, I was thinking about how I slow down when I know that cops are probably hiding. My head looks from side to side as I try to find them. Are they watching, or am I slowing down for nothing? I’m slowing down, but am I also avoiding?
I think so. I think that by slowing down, I’m trying to avoid something bad. I’m trying to make sure I don’t get a ticket, although I drive slower than many people on that road.
I don’t want to get in trouble, I don’t want anything bad, so I slow down. I avoid.
In this situation I’m avoiding a ticket.
But in life, I try to avoid so many different things.
I try to look ahead; try to see what’s coming. And then I avoid whatever looks bad, to the best of my ability.
But I don’t even know the future.
I’m avoiding a broken heart. I’m avoiding losing relationships. I’m avoiding homework. I’m avoiding scholarship essays. I’m avoiding tough conversations.
But none of that makes sense. For one thing, I can’t see the future…so how do I really know what to avoid?
And how do I know how to avoid it, if I don’t know for sure what I’m supposed to be avoiding?
Second, those things are gonna happen no matter how hard I try to avoid them. I have to do my homework and write these essays. I’m going to have my heart broken again. I’ll eventually lose relationships, and the tough conversations are going to have to happen.
I can’t avoid them forever.
I can slow down, look all around, and try to make sure nothing bad is coming my way.
But I can’t avoid it. Not in the end. Not every time.
Because there are always new hiding spots. Always new roads to drive down with new policemen waiting to catch those that are unsuspecting and aren’t avoiding a ticket.
Eventually I’ll drive down one of those roads.
Eventually, the thing(s) we’ve been dreading, the thing(s) we’ve been avoiding, will most likely happen. Then what good did avoidance do?