I was riding home from work on one of those pleasant evenings of that time of year when I would leave work in the light but arrive home, sixty miles later, in the closing dusk.  It was a nice evening to ride and I was feeling the joy.  The wind was refreshing upon my face and the beast was strong beneath me.  Traffic was relatively light and I was passing more than passed me.  Actually, I don’t think anyone on that road was passing me.  I approached in the left lane a group of cars traveling more moderately in the right lane.  Dusk had begun to fall in earnest and I had been either too lazy or too reluctant to interrupt the ride to switch from dark glasses to some more suited for night riding.  My visibility, quite honestly, was much less than care and responsibility should have dictated and I just couldn’t clearly see the vehicle ahead.  It did appear that there were variations in the color on the rear deck of the sedan, possibly some sort of writing, but I couldn’t make it out.  Suddenly as I drew within a few car lengths of overtaking the cage, its rear window erupted for just a split second into and explosion of red white and blue light, and then all was once more dark.

It was not an accident.  It was a clearly communicated message and I understood it perfectly.  The message was, “I am a Kansas state trooper.  I have things to do and places to go.  If you pass me it will interfere with my day, my plans, and my happiness.  If my happiness is disturbed we will both leave the shoulder of this highway irritated and off our schedules.”

I eased back the pressure on my throttle hand and held my place in the pecking order as instructed.  I still should have stopped to change glasses, but pulling off to the roadside now would have drawn undue attention, and I really didn’t want to hold a conversation with my new found friend.

Lights really are important in traffic.  I try to convey to my children as they learn to drive that the lights on a vehicle are not just decorations, but are active communication devices.  I instruct them of certain light related rules, such as never showing brake lights prior to showing turn signals.  The pedal on the right side of my mount I think of not so much as the activator of the rear brake as I do the switch that controls the brake light. 

In similar fashion our lives are filled with lights, with communication devices, that we display to the world around us.  The choices we make, the friends we choose, maybe even what we wear, where we go, and how we comb our hair are all signals that we send to the people around us.

I know what that trooper had to say to me that night, but what are my lights saying to the masses, to my friends?  What are the messages your lights are sending?

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