Illustration by Rick Tuel
It is time to call it a year, and in the spirit of tidying up and finishing the unfinished, here are a few items I never got around to this year:
First of all, you commuters, walkers, joggers, students, and bicyclists: wake up and wear something reflective. I am not a commuter, but I am a commuter enabler. I frequently give my son a ride to the ferry in the morning and pick him up in the evening. It is astonishing to me how many people are out on our public thoroughfares in the dark, wearing dark clothing. People suddenly appear in my headlights in or beside the road, which provides me a good cardiovascular workout, but holy carp, kids, it’s scary.
To those of you who wear reflective clothes or vests or shoes and carry flashlights or other beacons to show you are there, thank you. You cannot wear too much of this stuff. If you are a bicyclist with a tiny little white light in front and a tiny little red light in back, you need to know that you cannot be seen. You need to slap reflective tape on every surface of your bike as well as your clothing. Please.
Be mindful of how hard it is to see you. Don’t take for granted that drivers will see and avoid you. Be mindful of the terrible fragility of your human body. You will not win an argument with a car. It does not matter that you have the right of way or that you or your survivors can sue someone after the fact. Living a healthy life in an unbroken body is more to be desired than a broken or dead body and revenge. Trust me on this. Make yourself visible.
Second, I have recently signed on as a volunteer for VIPP. One of VIPP’s pressing needs is for foster homes for dogs awaiting adoption. My husband and I recently took in a foster dog, and experienced the major pitfall of fostering: we fell in love with the dog and now she’s part of our family. As pitfalls go, not so bad, (our pitfall is pit bull, which I’ve been trying to resist saying but have failed) but we’ll have to be a little more hard headed for our next foster. You’ll be hearing more about fostering animals in the months to come, but for now I ask you to consider whether you have room in your home to provide a safe temporary home for a deserving pup. Think about it, and if you think you might be able to do it, look into it by contacting VIPP at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Third, I was listening to God recently – most of you would call this meditating, being quiet and paying attention to what comes – and here is what I heard: preach tolerance. This little nugget of instruction has made me acknowledge to myself that, oh yeah, I do preach, don’t I? And I do preach tolerance. How often have I said here that we’re all in this together? I am ever mindful that the practice of tolerance is counter to my own human nature which is naturally inclined to be judgmental, jealous, and self-serving. I know I’m not alone in my reactive human nature. So you’ll be hearing more about that, too, but for now I leave you with this major contribution from a minor prophet: “…what does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” - Micah 6:8b
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year, or whatever it is you are or are not celebrating. I wish you well. Try to be tolerant of people who wish you well, even if they don’t say it the way you’d prefer, okay?