Not too long ago, my husband and I took a road trip in Ohio. One of the things we wanted to do was to find out what “The Big Muskie Bucket” was. We had passed the sign for it many times but didn’t have any idea where to find it. It took us a while, but when we did, it was well worth the drive. We learned that it is the largest mobile mining dragline bucket ever made and large it is! I am 5’7” but standing inside Ole Muskie made me feel tiny! Lately, watching the news, reading Face Book posts, and interacting with the world around me has also begun to make me feel small.
I’m pretty sure you’re going to think that I’m off my rocker (remember I’ve told you before that I am crazy) but there’s no better place that proves my point than on the road. I know that I’m old fashioned but when I learned to drive waaaaay back in the 70’s our instructor instilled in us a responsibility to use good manners on the road. Signaling and waiting to see the other person’s headlights in your mirror before pulling in front of them, moving over to allow others to merge, and waiting to pull into traffic until there is room enough as to not cause another driver to have to slow down are just a few examples I still believe in. Simple, silly things? Maybe, but these simple things can make the difference between a pleasant trip and high blood pressure.
The road however, isn’t the only place where we need good manners. Somewhere along our way, we as a society have become so focused on ourselves and our agendas that saying a “please”, “thank you”, or “excuse me” is all but extinct. Add on top of that the need we all have to be heard, often at the expense of listening to anyone else’s point of view. This equation creates many unpleasant interactions. I’ve witnessed several situations where the parties were saying the same thing in different ways and neither was willing to stop arguing long enough to realize they were more alike than different. It’s happening more and more every day. I also can’t figure out when it became acceptable to leave our grocery carts in parking places, throw diapers and fast food trash out our car windows, or treat service workers disrespectfully. Simple, silly things?
I’ve always tried to live my life putting others first. In whatever situation I find myself in, I aspire to treat others the way I want to be treated. I liked to think it made a difference, but recently I‘ve begun to doubt myself. How can one person make the world a better place? What makes me think that I can effect a positive impact on those around me? The happenings in the world tell me over and over that I’m a small fish in a big pond…… a simple, silly person. So, feeling dismayed, my heart has been heavy, I‘ve questioned my ability to make a difference, and I’ve felt like giving up. Thankfully that’s when God stepped in. One morning recently, when I was feeling especially discouraged the scripture for my daily devotional was “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven,” Matthew 5:16. Then soon after that I read a quote that said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness only light can do that”, Martin Luther King. Coincidence? I don’t believe in coincidence. Jesus and Martin Luther King were both men doing the right thing in the midst of a world that tried to make them feel small. Both spent their lives leading humanity on a new and better path. Both went to their deaths fearlessly and selflessly standing up for what is right. Now, let me be very clear. I am certainly not anywhere close to being a Martin Luther King or Jesus! Their words however reach across history to remind and teach me that doing right is always the right thing to do. It doesn’t matter how it makes ME feel and I don’t have to worry about the results. I just have to simply be faithful in the journey one small step at a time. Now that doesn’t seem silly at all.