Speed Bumps

Speed Bumps


No, I haven’t been on a cruise, but navigating speed bumps bigtime. But five in a row? You’ve been there, driving over huge mounds, rough and longer ones, several smaller caution bumps, all designed and constructed to enforce safety. Speed bumps, also called traffic thresholds, speed breakers or sleeping policemen, are a class of traffic calming devices that use vertical deflection to slow motor-vehicle traffic in order to improve safety connections.  If you haven’t, hang on and get ready. Speed bumps are no respecter of persons.

I became especially aware of speed bumps when riding to High School with driver’s-permit-teenagers who negotiated speed bumps differently. The girls eased over or drove around them while my boys approached them with a bit of challenge a bit faster, enjoying several bumps in a row.

My recent experience of personal speed bumps began with a medical procedure that led to several unrelated concerns, together which generated the pain of slowing forward progress significantly while innocently working on managing a normal routine. Projects that clambered to be done by a certain time (like IRS preparation) plus other responsibilities vying for completion forged their way to the front line having to be dealt with pronto.  Brother David commented in a sibling e-mail, that “For Ruthie to slow down is like our mother having nothing to do on Saturday’s.”

His comment provided fodder for conversation with each other about our mom’s silent slamming into several speed bumps in a row and managing to go from being a satisfied homemaker, mother of six into an employed single mother with no money, car, savings or know-how to adjust to being deserted by a man whom she loved, move four children ages 6-15 to a new community and find full time employment. She received no child support but I recall her saying, “I’d rather dig potatoes than to receive welfare.” She had more than five speed bumps and hers were enormous and long-lasting.

During my down-time, I reflected on the speed bumps that our mother obviously experienced but when we were too young and self-involved to even be aware. My sibs and I reminisced with joy and admiration about our mother’s humble attitude and shock-absorbing constitution.

When David said he didn’t remember mom ever discussing money, I shared the in-coming memory of the time she told me that she didn’t cash one check until she had another in her purse. Another money-related attitude surfaced as she and I shopped and I found something I needed which was on sale, but didn’t have enough to buy, so I wanted to do what my friends did, and put it on layaway--pay a little each week until it was paid off. “No”, she said, “We don’t do that.” She taught me an important lesson on buying only what I could afford.

David and I both remember that even though each of us was employed with part time jobs—making 50 cents or less an hour for a few dollars a week, that Mom taught us to take out a tithe (10%) for church and to save 10%.  We have continued these practices all these years and have taught our children the same.

Mom didn’t wince when she faced a speed bump. She never complained and we never heard her indicate that she felt sorry for herself for her deep loss, assuming heavy responsibility and having to trade homemaking which she loved for the stress of learning the new ropes of employment.  Even though mom’s siblings and mother were rightly critical of how dad had dropped his responsibilities, she never criticized him to them or to us. Also, mom never apologized for what she couldn’t help.  Those three attitudes, don’t criticize, apologize or complain are positive guidelines for all of us for sure.   

When we regard precautions along life’s path that slow our pace as gifts-in-disguise, reminding us, “In everything give thanks” and to confidently trust the Lord, we are then more likely to avoid anxiety and seek God’s wisdom as we usurp time to relax, keeping physical, emotional and spiritual concerns intact while making decisions and completing tasks. During the follow-up appointment with my doctor, as I shared the blog subject, he said, “Yes, and always counting our blessings.”

Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you…Ps. 55:22 (NIV).     

Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed, says the Lord, who has compassion on you. Isa. 54:10.