I’m writing this while travelling to Savannah, GA. I will be spending a few days of spring break with my boys, who always inspire me and teach me something new 🙂
Like this past week…
I was taking my son Blais to school one morning on a busy two-lane county road. An ambulance was coming toward us, and Blais’ eyes opened wide: “How is he going to get through?” he asked. I could hear worry and concern in his voice.
“Watch,” I said calmly. We had a red light, but in that moment all traffic stopped. As the ambulance approached, some cars moved to the right, some stayed in place and some moved forward to make way. The ambulance van never even had to slow down. It was like watching a well-rehearsed show.
“How does everyone know where to go?” Blais asked.
“Because humans, like ants, actually do have the ability to organize themselves and work in harmony – as opposed to bickering, disagreeing and demanding to have their way,” I said calmly.
Blais, accustomed to my coaching inspirations, listened patiently as I continued:
“Yes, everyone who’s passed a driver’s test knows that all vehicles are required to make way for emergency vehicles. BUT, more importantly, in that moment, we all become mindful of that one life that’s being saved – or helped. We don’t ask who they are, what religion they are, if they are an immigrant or someone with a criminal record. Instead, many will feel compassionate and say a prayer. We all clear the way – so as not to create an obstacle to the emergency responders doing their job. None of us can help the person at this moment. What we are able to do, however, is to move out of the way in an orderly manner and not cause more chaos by trying to assert ourselves.”
“That’s cool,” he said, and we drove in silence for a little while.
I went home and kept thinking about this as I worked on an upcoming benefit event I’m helping to produce as a Board member of Nashville Peacemakers (NP).
NP is an organization founded by Clemmie Greenlee (you’ve heard me talk about her. I interviewed her for my show “Waking Up in America”). NP runs programs for the youth at risk for gang recruitment, sex trafficking and drug abuse – in neighborhoods only 15 minutes away from some of the wealthiest and safest areas in the country. Just recently, I heard a statistic that there are plenty of programs for youth (especially boys) once they get into trouble, but very few that give them guidance and life skills to create a different path for themselves before they get into trouble.
Which reminded me of the ability of humans to organize ourselves like with the oncoming ambulance – but often AFTER the crisis happens.
Do we simply not care about prevention – and building a healthy world – because of our judgement of the people who need help? Or are we too busy with our own survival to think about the bigger picture?
And if that’s the case, if we truly don’t have time to be mindful about the world around us, aren’t we creating more disconnect even for ourselves? And with that sense of disconnect, don’t we feel more stressed out and unhappy? And doesn’t our own unhappiness and sense of being overwhelmed become an obstacle to grace, love and our own healing?
Soon enough, we might be the ones in the ambulance, gasping for air, hoping that the cars would move out of the way so we can make it to the hospital.
So … what can we all do today to start working together and prevent the suffering that is preventable?
I’m sure you have an answer – because it’s in our DNA to care. I’m sure you’re already doing something…
But if you need or want more ideas, how about this:
Start with sitting in stillness today and examine where – and why – you might hold judgement or fear toward people who don’t look, think or believe the same as you do. And then look outside and notice that we all breathe the same air, and live on the same planet under the same sun. Become aware of how connected we all are. Then do something out of your usual comfort zone. Research a charity or a program that’s not affiliated with your church. Make a friend from a different country or religion.
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