Road danger: I never saw it

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This was an accidental picture, as it were. Descending from the top of the Nantahala Gorge, negotiating sharp curves at top speed, I come screaming down to the T-Bone with Highway 74 / 19 (Truck 64) at Topton, taking a right toward Andrews. There’s a Stop sign at car level at the end of the bridge to the right of the driver, as one might expect. I’ve always seen that Stop sign. The one I’ve always also seen but never noticed hangs in front of the driver high up on the high voltage power cables. That’s almost 4 1/2 years worth of seeing but not noticing this Stop sign.

Maybe it’s just a dumb place for a sign as you come down perpendicular-wise into a 90-degree curve over the train-bridge and have to look for oncoming traffic from a blind hill-top to the left while stopping. Leaning over the steering wheel so as to look up from under the car roof is a bit of a strain when you’re busy doing other things.

Seeing but not noticing. It’s like seeing a criminal coming out of an office building but not noticing the criminal because he’s disguised as a UPS driver. UPS drivers are invisible in that situation, right? You could describe the UPS driver in detail never thinking that he’s the one for whom all the police are searching.

So much for the strength of my situational awareness. I’ll have to work on that. Meanwhile:

“To those outside everything comes in parables, so that ‘looking they see but do not perceive, and hearing they hear but do not understand, lest they turn and be forgiven” (Mark 4:11-12).

You might almost think that Jesus is locking people out on purpose. And He is! Here’s the deal, if we aren’t drawn by the truth of His love, the love of His truth, we are only looking at ourselves and so we don’t want to be turned to Him to be forgiven by Him. He’s the one who draws us to Himself, who turns us about, who forgives us. We’re not our own saviors. We can’t see His salvation of us without Him revealing that salvation to us. He’s the One. He’s the only One. He can be grabbing us by both shoulders and shaking us so that we might actually take notice of Him whom we’ve otherwise always seen. But we can choose to just keep going through life on our own, thinking that’s enough, but remaining in darkness.

Back to situational awareness. It’s a service one renders not only to self but to others. Part of situational awareness is noticing what is otherwise usually un-noticeable. It involves always taking it down a notch, stepping back so as to be more immersed in the situation.

 

 

1 Comment

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One response to “Road danger: I never saw it

  1. pelerin

    Food for thought there – thank you Fr George.

    Your mention of a criminal’s disguise reminds me of a story I heard many years ago about the perfect theft of a grand piano from Harrods the prestigious London store. I have no idea if it was true or just apocryphal but it echoes what you have written.

    Several men dressed in workmen’s overalls picked up the piano and walked out with it. Nobody stopped them as it looked normal!

    Situational awareness is sadly lacking these days particularly among the young who are all glued to their mobile phones ignoring what is going on around them.

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