Our very own Bishop Kevin was recently the recipient of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “Drum Major Award,” presented to him last month in a ceremony at Christ Our Redeemer Church. You can read more about the honor on page 10, but briefly, the award recognizes those who quietly go about encouraging tolerance. Part of a national program, the award pays homage to King, who once referred to himself as a drum major of peace and righteousness. From racial tolerance to gender to age to religion, the accolade recognizes those who work to increase tolerance in many forms.
Tolerance is a tough issue for many. Sometimes it’s a challenge to see things through the eyes of the other person, partly due to the way one was raised. Sometimes a lack of tolerance is the result of an encounter or experience that shaped one’s perception of the other person, or for that matter, the other person’s perception of us.
I have a suggestion for those that would like to work toward modeling Bishop Vann’s excellent example of tolerance. Back off.
Back off when you’re behind the wheel. It’s a good training ground for beginning to become a more tolerant individual. There are no formal lessons required. It costs nothing. You may even find you feel better about yourself.
Why use the roadway as a starting place to increase your tolerance level? I continue to be amazed at what occurs on our streets and freeways. At least once every day as I commute throughout Orange County, I see drivers bearing down on the car in front of them – even targeting cars that are already traveling at the speed limit. To call it tailgating is putting it mildly. What I often see is more akin to harassment. And with all the talk of harassment today, no one wants to be viewed as the perpetrator.
The person who is victimized by such a “car bully” has only two choices. Continue along on their current path, or move aside so the offending driver can pass, for fear the situation will escalate.
But what if the bully knew more about the driver they are harassing? What if they knew the struggles the person may be dealing with? Perhaps the driver in front of them recently lost a loved one. Maybe that driver is facing difficulties on the job. Maybe they are a senior, driving at what they feel is a safe speed. There are a number of reasons why that driver could use a break, especially while they’re behind the wheel.
Give it a try. Back off and give the driver ahead of you some space–maybe even as you leave the church parking lot after Mass. In doing so, you can consider yourself in training to become a more tolerant, accepting and loving person.