Life in Germany: Detours, Traffic Jams, and Speed Traps
When we first moved to Germany, we learned a couple of words very quickly. The first “Umleitung” meaning “detour”. The first option to get to our house on the GPS took us straight to an impassable hole in the road and construction. We followed the “umleitung” signs, until we learned a better way from our landlord.
We also learned the word “Stau”, which means “traffic jam”. We experience these somewhat often, partly because of the distance we live from the bases/posts, partly because many of our routes involve big construction projects. A stau can add a few minutes or hours to any trip.
The police (polizei) do not pull people over for speeding or much of anything else. Instead, traffic cameras are placed in various locations and if you are “flashed”, you can expect to get a ticket in the mail. Fines vary based on the location of the camera and the rate of speed. They are also sticklers about parking. Don’t be even a minute late or you’ll have a parking ticket (issued by sneaky meter maids). We greet tickets with anything from anger to disappointment to resigned acceptance. Obviously, the best course of action is to follow the rules, but when we are caught, it is wise to take the consequences and learn from our errors.
Like everything else, when I have to detour or sit “stuck” in traffic, or if we are “caught” by the camera or meter maid, I am reminded of how our spiritual walk is similar. Many times, things don’t go the way we plan, or the way we think they should, or we simply don’t get what we want when we want it. Detour. I wonder how often the detours in our lives spare us more pain and suffering than we believe is caused at the time? Other times, we feel stuck like life just isn’t moving fast enough. The reality is often time moves too quickly. Kids grow, families and friends move, loved ones pass away. Each moment is precious time. Use it wisely.