Dream word – DIFFERENT
“Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.” NKJV
Some new math
In the United Kingdom, the roundabout is a feat of mental and physical engineering, providing both safety and continuous traffic movement along every road. You slow down a little but you keep on moving, saving on the use of petrol, saving on the use of breaks, saving on the use of neck muscles, yup, in the United Kingdom, the roundabout is an economic masterpiece as well!
When I lived in small town America, there was but one roundabout and what a dog’s breakfast my American friends used to make of it! The old courthouse still stands in the centre of this roundabout and therefore the roundabout has four if not five, pedestrian crossings to get to it. Now, these crossings are but two parallel lines painted on the road and without light or sound, pedestrians walk across them, eyes facing straight ahead, whilst walking nonchalantly towards the courthouse at the centre of the roundabout! In the country where the car is king, you would think this is tantamount to suicide but no, people walk the walk, paying no attention to giant trucks full of bourbon or corn, and the drivers, well the drivers just have to stop in their tracks! Now to compound matters even further, this single roundabout also has four yield signs! So we have five poor crossings and four yield sings all on the same roundabout! Crazy or what! Yes, my American brethren have absolutely no idea how to run a roundabout. Though to my knowledge, no one has been hurt on it yet, I am convinced that it is only a matter of time.
The building of American cities on a grid and block system means that nowhere else in the world is there the conglomeration of millions of intersections and subsequent 4-Way Stop signs. At the end of every block, you have to stop at a four-way intersection! Can you imagine what this does for increased fuel consumption, for break wear, for neck muscle wear and even bowel twist wear! It is just ridiculous and I tell you what, as an Englishman driving in America, I still do not fully understand the polite protocol of who moves first when four cars arrive at exactly the same time at the same intersection! Four-way stops are the most confusing constructions I have ever come across. Oh please God give me once again the speed and sensibility of roundabouts!
Even so, the freaky little Bardstown roundabout and the millions upon millions of four way stops, all seem to work. Yes, they seem to function so well, that people are on the whole, quite, quite safe. I have never yet seen an accident at a 4-Way Stop and not even on the freaky Bardstown roundabout, and I believe I know why. You see these American drivers are utilising three important tools, which the British driver is rarely seen with. Tonight, even though it is the last and most important tool, which is the key to both peace in driving and in peace life, I shall also throw the other two simply for good measure.
Now before I give you these tools, let me say that, they are only utilised by sane people! Thus, you will never see them in play in New York, Los Angeles, Houston, or in America’s open-air asylum, the whole of South Florida! With these most obvious exceptions I shall now proceed!
So, the first tool is less haste! I cannot tell you how many old Chevy trucks I have been stuck behind where to the driver; every day seems to be a Sunday afternoon, even if its 8:00 o’clock in the morning! It’s as though there is common acknowledgement that, “Hey, it’ll still be there when you get there!” These country folks always smile and wave as I over take them at the first unsafe opportunity.
The second tool is a most uncomfortable obedience to traffic laws and speed limits. I know, this is almost unheard of in the UK yet over here, in small town America especially, most people obey the traffic laws, even at 2:00am in the morning when no one is around!
However, the third and most powerful tool of all, so fully expressed, seen and tasted at the four-way stop sign, is that most magnificent tool of deference.
Deference is the practice of deferring your practice and even sometimes your rights, to both the practice and action of others. Now stick with me please, for there grows out of deference a most remarkable life equation. However, first let me say, that deference coupled with reluctance leads to bitterness. This is deference with a snarl you see. I have seen this in practice but little however, and I think that is because of the nasty taste it leaves in the mouth of the practitioner! No, deference, especially at 4-Way Stop signs, is usually practised with kindness, and deference plus kindness equals common courtesy. Now, this amazing equation of d + k = cc, is most magnificent math, for when worked out with consistency it brings a safe pace to both driving and to life, and a safe pace brings sight! Yes, you begin see things that you might never have been able to see before. You smell the roses a little better, you breathe a little deeper, you work with more ease and completion, good grief, even your bowel movements begin to assume a released regularity! Yes indeed, you literally move to a more seated, unstrained, relaxed enjoyed approach to people, jobs, life, relationships and problems of every kind and sort! Common courtesy is brotherly kindness on legs and that, dear friends, is the beginning of selflessness, the beginning of the humbling of pride, which in turn is the preparation of the heart for the poured in, poured out, poured through goodness of God! Imagine that.
So tomorrow, especially if today you have been a miserable old trout, why not amaze your colleagues, your family and your friends, yes, why not even trick the rest of humanity into thinking you’re mentally ill, by practising common courtesy. Go on; amaze people with your new math, by adding deference with kindness. I tell you, it will change your world.
Maybe, in the United Kingdom for the sole purpose of promoting common courtesy, we should get rid of all our roundabouts! Yeah right!
Listen: “For ‘He who would love life And see good days, Let him refrain his tongue from evil, And his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil and do good; Let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.’” - 1 Peter 3:10-12 NKJV
Pray: Lord, help me practice the good selflessness of deferent kindness. So may You be glorified, so may I be granted peace, so may my prayers be granted favour in Your ears, in Jesus name I pray, amen!
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