Is there anything more senseless than road rage that ends in violence? My heart goes out to anyone connected to such a tragedy, like the family of the father who was recently shot to death after cutting someone off in traffic.
What can we do to stop this from happening?
First, we need to recognize that this has become a national problem and needs our attention. A recent AAA report noted that nearly 80% of American drivers participated in at least one example of road rage in the past year. Astonishing, because it’s not in our true nature to be senseless and hateful. Yet, whenever we react with impatience or anger to a slight from another driver we are unwittingly contributing to this culture.
I agree with AAA’s suggestion that “The most important actions you can take to avoid aggressive driving take place inside your head.” In my town of Kenmore, outside Seattle, our motto is “In Kenmore – Courtesy is Contagious.” Signs with this motto can be found everywhere, and I believe it’s a helpful reminder to be civil and loving. But when it comes to road rage, I’m skeptical that signs alone will be enough.
Thinking outside the box, let’s consider one of nature’s amazing wonders: a murmuration.
That’s the word given to the unexplained phenomenon of starlings flying together in perfect unity of motion. It suggests they are part of an unseen, divine communication network that directs each of them to coordinate with one another. These displays provide a remarkable model for us and point to a need for more attention to this kind of innate ability to work with one another in harmony.
I posit that each of us has the natural ability to listen and respond to the Divine, just as the starlings do. The Bible declares that God is always watching over and guiding each of us. I believe, as we tune in and align our thought with Him, we too can find ourselves moving harmoniously in accord with one another.
Does this seem far-fetched? Here’s a link to a story about how one person became enraged at someone – even followed the person home! – yet didn’t follow through on her rage beyond that. She explains how she found that listening to God helped her change her dangerous path.
Christian theologian Mary Baker Eddy once wrote: “Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true, and you will bring these into your experience proportionally to their occupancy of your thoughts.”
Eddy was an inspired writer and healer whose teachings go beyond positive thinking to show that goodness has a divine source, and thus good thoughts have the power to uplift and heal. When our thought is filled with love, forgiveness and an abiding trust in God, there is no room for fear, hate, or rage. I can’t control other drivers, but I can control how I think about others around me and how I react to them.
Recognize that it is our spiritual nature to drive courteously and to be patient with one another. As you and I both innately listen for divine guidance in our own lives, perhaps the tranquility expressed by the starlings will inspire us to see the harmony that is possible on our roads.