There are three types of drivers on a crowded highway in traffic. There are those who see that you have to merge ahead from 3 lanes to 2 and they do it as soon as possible. There are those who use every inch of the merge lane til the bitter end and merge last minute and all the people from the first group shake their heads and/or do all they can to not let that person in because *that person* is being selfish. And then there’s people who are too busy rocking out to music and trying to make the best of it.
I go back and forth. In my mind, there’s a reason for a merge lane and if people were using it and other people in the middle lane were just courteous and realized that you will only get to your destination about 0.00005 seconds faster by not letting that car in, maybe the lanes would all merge a little smoother.
But I tend to be idealistic and silly. Like I’ve admitted before, I really do just want people to be nice. I mean what if people just let others merge whenever they felt like it, no judgment, no road rage, no sense of entitlement to a certain lane at a certain time?
As parents we try to teach our kids manners and sharing. We try to get them to be less possessive of their things. But then we have these rules like who had it first and who’s the oldest and who was given the toy for her birthday or who bought it with his “own” money? I wouldn’t agree to do this, but it would be an interesting experiment to raise kids without a concept of possession or “mine” and see if they come up with it on their own.
Are we sending some kind of mixed message here? Is it buried in our DNA to possess and then make rules like possession is 9/10ths of the law? Do we have ingrained in us this sense of not budging because we so desperately want every detail in life to be fair and the only way to determine “fair” is by a set of rules? But whose rules? What if we don’t agree to the rules? What if your rules suck? What if your rules are based on the blue book value of your car? Or your income tax returns or your net worth? What if it’s based on what your parents did for a living or if you had “noble” blood in your family? What if your rights and entitlements were based on your zip code or your eye color or how tall you are?
When you think through history, the haves and have nots, the powerful and the powerless, society has always been based on these things. The combined mentalities of I had it first. I’m entitled to it by birth. I have been in this lane for miles now and you just want to creep on over last second? No way buddy. I’d rather tailgate all up on the car ahead of me to make it really super clear you don’t belong in there!
And it creates a vicious cycle. The certain type of person who uses every inch of the merge lane gets tired of waiting for all the slow pokes, or they are opportunists, using what’s available to them for their own advantage. Or maybe they are just rocking out to music and suddenly realized they were at the end of the lane. Or the other people who are so bitter and wrapped up in their own self-absorbed rage that they cannot even see how they are burying themselves up to their eyeballs in self-righteousness and arrogance crippling their ability to truly love and care for anyone else.
So where does it stop? When do we start letting people in? And not get all bitter about it.
When Jesus came, he set a whole new pattern. He said the last will be first, the poor will be rich, the meek will inherit, the dead shall live again. He turned the world on its head and gave a new meaning to everything. He said not to worry, you’ll get there when you are supposed to get there, wherever there may be. You may take a detour or it may take what feels like FOREVEEEEER, but it won’t be. Because I’m coming for you. And none too soon.
We who believe live in this tension, the now and the not yet. We are waiting, but not forever. And it’s in this hope and blessed assurance that we can let the whole world in and continue to smile. We are not fearful of losing ground. We are not angry with those who tread on us. We do not fret because we know to love is to serve and come what may, we are always ever closer to going home. And when you follow that traffic pattern, you will never get lost or arrive too late. And you get to rock out all along the way.