Do you remember the Red Light Green Light Game? One person was designated as the police officer. The rest of those playing would be in a horizontal line yards apart, facing the officer. The police officer would shout ‘Green Light’, and everyone started to run toward him. He shouted ‘Red Light’, and all of those running would immediately stop. If anyone was caught running after the command to stop was said, they had to go back to the ‘start’ line. It was a lot of fun, and could be done during recess for a limited amount of time, and everyone got engaged. It was something similar to musical chairs, only it was played running.
I feel like we all are in a constant state of Red Light, Green Light. Even the world goes through Red Light, Green Light. A constant, evolving inhale and exhale.. Red Light, Green Light. The evening comes, turns dark, Red Light. Dawn breaks releasing a new day with opportunities to start over, Green Light. While that is all happening, we have to stop and look at the time in between, the waiting time, the in-between time.
Years ago, I read that if you lived to be eighty years old, you would spend three of those years waiting. Waiting at a red light, waiting at the grocery store, waiting in the doctors office, waiting for recess time at school, waiting for supper to be ready, waiting for something to happen. I’m reminded of Dr. Seuss, in his book ‘Oh the Places You’ll Go’, he talks about a useless place where people are just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.
Do you feel like that in today’s world? Red Light, the pandemic starts and we’re quarantined; Green Light, we’re able to go out again, but with restrictions. In the middle is the waiting, the in-between time. Let’s make the most out of the in-between time.
A dear friend of mine, Lori, years ago taught me about the ‘in-between time’ living. Lori was a young girl with breast cancer. She was 32 when she was diagnosed, and had 3 lovely girls. There was surgery, chemo, healing, changes in diet as she would try to beat that monster that was within her while she waited in the in-between time. There was work to still do, lunches to pack, laundry to do, children to raise, bible studies to attend, friends to be with, all in the in-between time. The monster rose up again within her, but even as it was at work within her, so was God, a Mighty God. God was a much larger being than the cancer-monster. ‘Taste and see that the Lord is good, blessed are those who take refuge in Him’ even in the midst of the in-between time. Lori learned that God was a forgiving God, and that ‘For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.’ Psalm 103;11-13 That means that even in the in-between, waiting time, that we are a forgiven people if we but ask, and our sins are remembered no more. We talked a lot about finding joy and peace in the in-between times of life and how very far the distance was between east and west, and what a magnificent blessing that is! ‘He will keep you in perfect peace whose mind is fixed on him’. Isaiah 26:3
We all have work to do in this in-between time, in the Red Light, Green Light time. There are people who are lonely, people who are grieving, and also people who are longing to share love and time with others, to share one another’s burden of the day. He says “Come to me, all you who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Matt 11:28.
If we can be anything in this in-between time, let us walk with each other in kindness. ‘Kind words can be short and easy to speak but their echoes are truly endless’. Mother Teresa.