Giving the Right of Way in Life

Labor of Love volunteers are a diverse bunch in many ways, but share in common a belief in a set of guiding principles, put into action.  We have an expansive view of who our neighbors are, and invite any willing to share our guiding principles to join us in healing our nation, one individual at a time – without regard to other perceived differences between us.

Recently, following an increase in unrest in many American cities, one of Labor of Love’s founders, a three decade public servant in law enforcement, shared her thoughts.

I mourn with the human race. I mourn for the pain, sadness, fear, anger and confusion we all feel. Is this a human problem? Is this a failure to understand we have to be willing to give the right of way to someone else sometimes?

Can non-black people understand how black people live with a certain level of fear about law enforcement? Can black people realize that most people don’t even see you as black? Can the racists that exist in all sectors of our culture ask for forgiveness and change their ways? Can we live in peace? Can we love one another as humans?

We are all so different in our upbringing, cultures and beliefs. Those differences will never be made to be equal. It can’t. We are all on different journeys that have different paths. The question is, when our paths cross can we do so in a peaceful, orderly, respectful way?

Millions of people approach stop signs at an intersection every hour. When another car approaches, do you size them up based upon the type of car they are driving, what they look like and who is traveling with them? Nope. You just acknowledge each other and respectfully proceed as the law has described. It’s called right of way.

I have always tried to give the right of way to people I come across. The right to live. The right to speak. The right to worship. The right to protect themselves. The right to be an idiot or rude even. The fact is as long as my right of way is not infringed upon, I don’t care what they are doing.

Here is where we have allowed this peaceful way of life to become a major roadblock. People are so busy worrying about their right of way, they are crashing into other people. Some of those collisions are not mistakes. Some are purposefully trying to cause harm to others. Some are doing it without even knowing they are violating someone else’s right of way. The biggest thing is we are failing to see each other and proceed without thinking.

For 28 years I have been in awe of how millions of cars can head down a highway in an orderly fashion with few mishaps. People don’t want to wreck their cars. When collisions happen, it is sometimes the most traumatic event a person might experience in their life. Having compassion, patience and understanding for someone experiencing a trauma is what is needed for that person to heal.

This country just experienced a head on collision with fatalities. Fatalities in multiple vehicles. It’s sad, tragic and devastating for those left behind. The families of those lost are mourning and planning funerals.

Can we as a people, a nation, a state, a county, a neighborhood, a church, a family, and as an individual find the part in our heart to take a minute to reassess how we act in our intersections with each other. Can we find the decency, compassion, patience and understanding we have and share it to help our nation heal?

Our flag will remain at half staff in remembrance of the lives lost, but most importantly as a reminder that violating another persons right of way can result in tragedy.

Shelleys Flag Half Staff