On The Road
I’ve been doing more driving these days than I have in years. Although my commute is only a few miles, I’m finding myself tuned into the social norms of behavior on the road. From pulling out into traffic to laying on the horn when a light turns green before I’ve even had a chance to put the car into first, we all act differently on the road than we do in our lives outside of cars and streets. As a person with plenty of experience driving, but not that much lately, I feel as if I’m watching it all unfold before me for the first time.
On my way to pick Roozle up from school last week I was caught up in the usual traffic. I had the usual anxiety about being done with the work day and just wanting to be with Roozle but feeling stuck. As I was sitting there trying not to pick up my phone, which is a constant struggle in the completely stopped traffic, I started looking around. The car in front of me had a custom decal covering the whole back window of the car. It was a tribute to someone who had died. The light changed, the traffic started moving again, the car moved out of my way before I had a chance to figure out all the details. All I know is that someone passed away and the woman driving the car was wearing both his memory and her own vulnerability on the back of her car.
I began to wonder what it would look like if we all wore our vulnerabilities on our cars. Like those little family stickers that show how many cats you have, what if they were stickers of our pain and heartache? What if they indicated a recent family death, a struggle with depression, a recent divorce, a miscarriage, or a family illness? What if we wore our pain in the car instead of pretending that we’re bigger and stronger and less broken than we all really are? I wonder if we’d still be so quick to lay on the horn at a stop light. If we’d all smile and nod a bit more at each other instead of shaking our heads in disappointment.
This week’s challenge is to try to see the vulnerabilities on the road. Wave a little more. Let them go first. Treat everyone as if they had little decals of their pain in the open for all to see. Be present. Be compassionate. Be patient. See what happens.
Will you join me?