This morning as I was driving my little yellow granny car to work I nearly got run off the road by a bus. My life flashed before my eyes and I may or may not have squealed like a little girl. It was one of those "stuck between a bus and a hard place" moments in life, when you start to feel the crush and you're not sure how its all going to end up. Fortunately a car has brakes and I was able to slam on them and slip around the bus.
I'd like to think that in all times of my life, I'm the little yellow granny car that gets cut off by buses who aren't checking their blind spot. The reality is that there are a lot of blind spots in my life and I probably often cut other people off. As hard as it is for me to admit, sometimes I'm an arrogant driver who cuts other people off, because I don't take the time to look out for them or because I'm too concerned with getting to my destination.
How easy is it to put people in my blind spot? It happens when I'm rushing to work, or when I have my head buried in my books while I'm studying. It happens when I'm grumpy after losing a basketball game or shopping for a new shirt. I get too caught up in my own agenda, locked in on me. Loving others as you love yourself means at some point you've got to put the mirror down and look out for other people.
I got an embarrassing admission to make: I like having nice hair. I'm a believer in personal appearance and looking professional, but I get a little bit obsessive. I probably spend more than the average amount of time for a 23 year old male grooming my hair. I should say, I used to spend more that the average amount of time, because yesterday I got my head shaved. I got it shaved (not completely, just a number four) as a reminder to not get too caught up in myself. Now, I can spend more time praying in the morning than combing every hair into place. Instead of checking how my hair looks alright in the car mirror or window, I can be alert to the needs of the people around me.
Yes, cutting my hair off may be an extreme action to take, but something extreme needs to be done about a society that unashamedly promotes self above others. Bad stuff happens in our world, a lot of it unnecessarily. Social justice isn't just about "doing good", it's about restoring dignity to people. In a sense, us Westerners need to restore our dignity: we were not meant to be so self absorbed. Our dignity isn't based on our appearance, but in how we live whole and holy lives.
The bus that cut me off this morning frustrated me, not just because it cut me off, but because it was nearly empty and it was causing serious traffic congestion: it wasn't fulfilling it's purpose. Our purpose isn't to "cut off" our brothers and sisters, but to take as many of them as we can on the Christian journey.