In the past year I’ve traveled across the country something around 7 times, although I’ve stopped counting at this point. The one thing I do remember quite vividly, however, is the fact that the majority of these travels took place in a vehicle with a check engine light.

And as I sit here in the midst of a 9 hour stretch in the darkness of the late night I can’t help but see this as a sort of metaphor. On these long journeys are we always aware of what we’re putting out into the atmosphere around us? Are we traveling with purpose? Is someone other than ourselves benefiting from all of this?

The farther and longer I traveled while seeing those little lights gleaming behind the blackened steering column the more I came to understand that just because you’re presented with a warning light doesn’t mean that you can’t proceed. It just means that you need to be able to pay attention to where you’re going and why.

If this vehicle breaks down in the middle of nowhere and I’m forced to deal with any number of hardships will what I was traveling for be worth it? If the answer is yes, continue on.

Just because you’re presented with a warning light doesn’t mean you’re meant to stop. It just means you need to look inside yourself and figure out if the potential breakdown will force you to turn around or to keep going.