Today I was on my walk/run in my personal attempt to become a runner again. Each day I must hit a new mark in distance along my route before I allow myself to walk. I am trying to coax my old muscles into remembering what their original purpose was before I camouflaged them with softer bio-material. Anyway, once I pass the previous day’s mark, I find a new one. It just helps me remember where I stopped.
My new marker was a yellow sign. It had a graphic of a car and and a biker with the words Share the Road. To be perfectly honest, I have traversed this pathway hundreds of times in the years that we have lived here and I have never consciously noticed that particular sign…until today…until it became my marker. I sensed immediately that it was giving me more than a practical direction. Isn’t it funny how ordinary things can send us a profound message when we are in need of hearing it? It literally stopped me in my proverbial tracks, almost as if the message had been audible. I think I may have even looked around me to see if anyone was there. Was this just a random road sign or had it put specifically there for me? Those words reminded me that I am not alone. I am on this road with others. I must share the pathway and let others share with me.
Sharing in not an innate behavioral response. Children need to be taught to share and parents usually begin early. Little ones are taught that it is important to be the sharER, but equally as important to be the sharEE (new word?). Time seems to twist our early learning a bit when the world shrieks the mantra that it is all about me. We aren’t being directed to share our road, but rather to dominant our piece of it. We become intolerant of those who go at different speeds. Road rage is vented on the ones who get in the way of our journey.
Sharing the road is counter-intuitive to what the world is telling us. I am finding that most right things are…counter intuitive to the world, that is. It’s easy to buy into the myth that the road belongs to us and we can and should do it all by ourselves. Somewhere along the way, we may have also gotten the idea that it is a zero/sum game, if someone else wins, then we lose.
There is also a more subtle piece to this gentle admonition of the yellow sign. Some roads we travel are difficult and we could glean direction from those who have gone before and have maps that may help us. That sign in all of its simplicity reminded me that the journey is not an option, but sharing the road is. Some of our roads are rockier than others. We can choose to share our experiences. We can choose to share our maps. We can choose to accept the wisdom of other travelers who may be a bit further down that same road. I believe that it is in the sharing of the road that we all will win.
“And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”