Monday, September 12, 2005

A Change of Habit

I've started driving the speed limit.

I strive for an average of 60 mph on the highway. I figure if the speed limit is either 55 or 65, the cops are gonna love me.

Even on back roads and city streets I am driving slower.


Two reasons: the price of gas and my spirit.

When I drive the speed limit, I get better gas mileage. I've also been condensing my trips, trying to get to several destinations in one jaunt. And I question whether the outing is even necessary. I try to squeak as much mileage out of a tank as I can.

But I've also noticed that when I drive slower, I'm more relaxed. Not as frenetic, harried, crazed. Maybe old people are old and drive that way for a reason.

Actually, there's a third reason: sacrifice. Because we are at war, because the Gulf Coast is underwater, because gas prices are up, and my life is largely unaffected, I have decided to affect my life with sacrifice: as solidarity, as thanks, as prayer. The word sacrifice has its roots in the word sacred. When we make a sacrifice, we are making our lives, and the lives of those our sacrifice affects, sacred. We realize that life is sacred and deserves our attention, our care, and our love.

There was a Star Trek episode from the 60's that depicted two planets at war with each other but the culture still thrived, the government and society were intact, people still had homes and families and livelihoods; there was no decay. Instead of using conventional weapons, the war was fought with supercomputers. When a "hit" was made on a certain area, the residents of that area reported to disintegration chambers as casualities. They sacrificed their lives but nothing else that war usually destroys. Thus, life had also become only a commodity rather than something to be treasured. Kirk and the boys destroyed the computers on one planet, which forced the other planet to use conventional weapons, as per their agreement. Needless to say, peace talks began immediately.

Many others are sacrificing on our behalf; not only the military, but relief workers, emergency personnel, health care professionals, and ordinary citizens volunteering their time and livelihood. As a wealthy nation, we have sacrificed the poor to support the lifestyle to which we have become so accustomed as to believe it our birthright. Christians believe that Christ sacrificed his life for all, including the poor, on the cross. Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and many others made the ultimate sacrifice for what they believed in. Usually, that moves one to some sort of action, some sort of sacrifice on our part.

What are you doing to make your corner of the world sacred?

1 comment:

Andy said...

A life lesson with a Star Trek analogy?? See? THIS is why I bookmarked your blog!