For several months now, the service engine light has been on and off...mostly on. I've taken it to the mechanic several times, and he's pulled the code and checked out all the usual suspects before calling me to pick it up. There have even been a few times that it goes off on its own. And then comes back on. It's a bit of a waiting game, as I'm waiting until someone finally figures out what's going on.
I was thinking about the service engine light this morning on the way to work and comparing it to how many times in life we talk about missing the warning signs. It's a convenient response, kind of like, "stay strong" or "she's in a better place now." Those empty words that fill an uncomfortable space and are usually best left unsaid.
The truth, which sometimes seems to be messier, is that warning signs are just that. Warning. Signs. Of course, it behooves us to note them and do our own due diligence to figure out what they may bring to our lives. Yet, sometimes, there's not much you can do but wait, even when you have warning signs flashing in front of your eyes.
I guess my point is that we need to stop beating up ourselves and shaming others when we "miss" the warning signs. Sometimes there's not much you can do but wait until everything falls apart. Sometimes nothing happens at all, and you never find out what potential mishap was lying in wait.
That's why it bothers me so much when we pass judgment on people after the fact. While we're busy judging them for all the signs they missed (often without considering if they even actually saw them), we're missing out on an opportunity to connect with them.
And that, my friends, is the greater sin in my eyes. Life is hard enough, and sometimes it just doesn't make sense no matter how much we try to connect the dots that led us to any given moment. They may be just that. Connected dots and warning signs.