One morning, as I was driving my children to school, we encountered a family of deer running across the road. All of us in the car audibly gasped in awe, and I pointed out to the boys how fortunate we were to be witnessing evidence of nature’s beauty and perfection, in spite of that fact that stopping to allow them to pass interfered with our schedule.
Deer crossing the road are not an uncommon sight in my neighborhood, and although I have no idea where they are coming from or where they are heading, I do know one thing: they would much rather not be anywhere near a road or the automobiles on it. But they have no choice. We have encroached on their habitat, and they are forced to occupy the same space as human beings. There is no option but to cross the road. For our part, rather than get upset by their appearance, we can choose to slow down and allow them to cross, with the knowledge that they were here first, and it is in our best interests to share. (Truly, the alternative is disastrous for all concerned – us, our vehicles, and the deer.)
This dynamic of sharing and how it is of benefit can be applied to more than wildlife. In our interactions with other people, it is, more often than not, the best choice to act with kindness and generosity, rather than to hog the road and never let anyone pass. Our relationship with the Earth is no different. If we travel down the road we’ve been on with no regard for what the environment needs, and think only of human progress and benefit, surely the result will at some point be tragic. And again, the effect will be felt by all concerned – not just the Earth, but all of her inhabitants.
It may not always be convenient to slow down and share the road, but if we want to continue our journey forward, it is always our best choice.
The Words of Wisdom is a publication of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Gwinnett.