Sharing the Road
As of today I have received Christmas cards or greetings from Christians, Unitarian Universalists, Muslims, and Jews. I may be bragging but I do feel super fortunate to live in a diverse and beautiful city where I meet wonderful colleagues and friends. I am grateful to know so many fine people who are so grounded in the life-giving love and beauty that their traditions, worldviews, and beliefs give to them that they can meet me just as I am with generosity, kindness, and grace.
I've been thinking this week about how much I find Elgin to be a "share the road" kind of town. We may not live in a perfect society. Structural racism and the legacy of white Christian supremacy may still make their mark on our decisions, dialogue, and economic realities. But in the midst of a broken system there are so many of us trying to figure out how to share the road with equity and care. We may live in a world built to prioritize one kind of transportation, one race of people, one gender, one way of loving, or one religious tradition, but I am heartened by the many who are in the midst of work to change that, who as we do so are doing our best to respect and support one another.
I heard a woman talking about what makes a downtown business thrive in Elgin praise the way businesses and other organizations here pull together to find wealth and health more often than they compete over resources. "That's just how we do things here," she said.
In Elgin you can get a free dinner any night of the week at one of the city's seven Soup Kettle locations. Both police officers and houseless folks have told me that Elgin is renown in the "Western Burbs" for the way it cares for those experiencing hunger and poverty.
While plenty of people honk, pass aggressively, or yell lewd things at me on my bike, plenty more wave, let me go first at the stop sign, and roll down their windows for friendly conversation. In the midst of moving toward more equitable ways of being and moving, I'm grateful for the many instances of kindness and respect that make sharing the road safer and easier.
So, in the ways that the human-built world is designed for my well-being over others, may I remember to yield with care and to work to change that reality. In the ways that the human-built world is designed for your well-being over mine, I hope you will find ways to do the same. In the meantime, I choose to focus not on the people who cut me off (there must be some really great holiday deals to get to) but on the folks who patiently and kindly share the road with me.