Count your blessings

Do you travel a lot? I seem to clock up the miles at the moment. Most of my journeys have gone from 2-5 mins locally to larger ones of about 30 mins. Now I do love to travel. But travelling the same journey day in, day out, can become at best – boring!

Throw in some road works, bad weather, silly drivers and, well – my patient wears thin, I get frustrated and I arrive at my destination irritated and stressed. And then I have to do the journey all the way home again!

I have recently started to do the same regular 30 min journey at least a few times a week. I have tried mixing it up a little – alternating the route, trying to find a quicker better way, avoiding traffic jams or roadworks. However there is one way that continues to be the quickest and least troublesome, this way involves travelling for at least half of the journey on one long stretch of road. Your probably thinking ‘great – that will be the best bit’. But what if I told you this stretch of road contains 31, yes 31 sets of traffic lights.

I hate traffic lights. I accept that they perform a great function – that there would be chaos without them, but they are so inconvenient. I’d like to get in my car and just drive. Maybe that has something to do with the fact that there were no traffic lights where I was from and everyone was just courteous and kind.

Every time I do this journey I dread this specific part of the road. I feel that every light is on red – it is a constant stop and start. So today, as I ventured out on the same journey once again, I tried something different. I decided to count the traffic lights (that is why I know there is 31). What I discovered surprised me. I actually got 23 green lights and 8 red lights – but I didn’t arrive at my destination any quicker. On the way home I counted 22 green lights and 9 red lights – yet again, this was not any quicker than on the days where I seem to stop at all of them.

So my question now is, when I am in a hurry, when I am rushed or frustrated, am I actually stopping at lots of red lights or does it just feel that way? Could it be that the green lights come along more often, I just notice the red lights more because they are the ones that trigger something in me?

I grew up in church culture and once of the songs we used to sing went like this:

‘Count your blessings, name them one by one. And it will surprise you what the Lord has done’.

Now I know not everyone reading this will be a Christian or have experienced church, but the principal of the song, I think, is important. It is when we start looking for the good, the kind, the blessing – that we can sometimes be surprised at how good life is.

Every week, staff at Phase Trust engage with children, young people and families who are in terrible and horrible situations. Situations of fear, danger, abuse and the list goes on. To say ‘let’s list all the good stuff and you won’t feel so bad about the how rubbish things are for

you’ just won’t cut it. So we help them to see the worth and the beauty inside of them. We try and show that each life is a life that is important and filled with potential, so that one day, they may be able to start seeing the good in their own lives.

Today, while driving, my situation was temporary and quick. Many of the people we work with don’t have that luxury, but if we can make a difference by showing them the beauty the world has and the amazing potential in each one of them – maybe they will one day be able to see the positive, the good, the beauty in their own lives.

Thanks for reading. I hope you manage to ‘count your blessings’ today.

Dee Woodward
Office Manager, Phase Trust