The car jerks and sputters down the road at two miles per hour. The oversized black 4×4 behind me honks loudly. When I looked in the rear-view mirror, I noticed Mr. 4×4 motioning for me to move faster. Doesn’t he understand that if I could, I would? I’d gladly pull over and let him pass, if I saw an empty spot on the crowded street. The more he honked and gestured, the slower the car went. I began to shake with each jerk of the car.

I made it to the four-way stop sign. Whew! Now even Mr. 4×4 must understand that I can’t move until we do the “stop sign waltz”; I wait my turn. I stopped shaking enough to reach down for my water bottle…and noticed that the emergency brake was on! I released the brake and glided smoothly into traffic.


Some days are marked with short staccato steps and frequent stops. A few hours into the day I notice something is wrong, something isn’t working right – and I can’t identify the cause. At those moments, I step onto the porch, stare at the vast blue sky with white cotton candy-like clouds and breathe. I release the virtual emergency brake. Then I glide smoothly into the next project and the day moves forward at a comfortable 30 MPH!

With gratitude to Rabbi Ephraim Wachsman for the emergency brake image (Chazak Line class, Reaching New Heights option, 718.258.2008).