Sunday, May 15, 2011

Stuck in Traffic

Stuck in traffic lately? I am daily. Every time I find myself stuck in a lane behind a truck I can't see around (such as the one above) I think back to an experience I had in Provo, Utah, years ago.

It was a typical day for me, driving home after a day of work from the Provo river bottoms to our South Provo apartment. I usually took University Avenue because it was a straight shot home. I haven't lived in Provo in 12 years, so I hope this street has changed, but I doubt it.

At the time it was a tree-lined street with two lanes on either side, a turning lane (shared by both sides of the road) in the middle, and one lane on each side for parking. It felt narrow, especially during Provo's "rush hour."

Day after day I would get trapped behind some large truck or another. Traffic was tight. Cars would jockey for prime positions. I couldn't see what was in front of the truck; I often couldn't see much in the other lane, and so I would plod on, inch by inch, light by light, angry and frustrated feeling that the drive home was lasting forever.

One evening my perspective changed. As I plodded along behind yet another large truck for yet another mile, my frustration mounting, I spied an opening in the lane to my right. I signaled, looked, and zipped over into that lane. I nearly fainted. Both lanes in front of the slow truck (and now me) were open. They were clear! They had probably been clear for some time, as cars had sped past me and Mr. Slow Truck on the right and turned onto various streets, freeing up that right lane.

What I thought had been a slow evening traffic jam was just one slow truck and me following that truck like an idiot, not believing there could be anything better or different about this commute. (Sadly enough, there was also a long line of cars behind me.)

I remember thinking to myself, this is a lot like life. In front of me looms a huge problem or obstacle that I follow for a while, not seeing the end of it. I can't see around it or in front of it. All I can see is IT. I follow it blindly, meanwhile getting more and more distraught when in reality, there is a free and open road right in front of it. 

I took that moment to heart. It became a personal "aha" moment that I'd smile about when stuck in traffic I couldn't see around. Would I let the truck hold me back? Would I take a chance to zip into the next lane and see what was ahead or would I doggedly eat the fumes of Mr. Slow Truck?

Applying it to my life . . . would I let a big, ugly divorce restrain me? Would I let problems at work keep me behind? Would I allow my own self-esteem issues hinder my emotional, mental or spiritual growth? Would my past failures hold me down? No way! No way.

So next time you're stuck in traffic behind a truck you can't see around, think of my lesson. Are you going to let it hold you back or are you going to take a chance and see what's around it?

Copyright 2011 Corrina L. Terry
Photo credits:


  1. Ah yes, the obstructed view... so often, if only we would try another lane or another way... things could become so much clearer. Yet we hold back, guessing this is the only way.

  2. Oh wow, what a great object lesson. However, I was just waiting for this story to end in a crash. Thankfully, it did not.

    I get stuck behind slow trucks too but I almost always look for the clearing.

  3. Reflections---Totally! I can't tell you how many "trucks" I've been stuck behind and never thought to change lanes. I do now though. :o)

    Cheeseboy---I never wrecked on University Ave, but my ex was rear-ended by a semi on it. Luckily my son and I weren't in the car.

    I'm glad to hear that you are the kind of person who looks for the clearing. Too bad more people aren't!