SLOWING DOWN THE HUMAN RACE

“Global warming seems to be causing chaos in parts of the natural world already, and that seems likely to grow worse, not better. So in the view of the experts, simple banking on a rosy scenario without any real plan would be dangerous.”

                                                     Justin Gillis [NY Science Times section 12/1/15]

Frankly I never had the gall to admit that my single encounter theme might make a difference on our planet when it comes to slowing down the human race, along with reducing carbon emissions. It’s an audacious theory but I have had some help that scared me a little from a woman at my gym, a few years older than I. She sent me the following note typed on her ancient Royal type-writer.

“’Light one candle and it could change the world for the better.’ I remember this motto from elementary school and I still believe it can happen. I’m sure with modern technology, that your book could be preserved for hundreds or even thousands of years, rah! If all the people in the world would read your book we would have peace on earth. It goes with the hymn ‘Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me (an individual).’”

I assumed I was the only one on this earth who thought I had such a cosmic plan. Ah, but now I will have to confess to her that I am begging the members of my former churches and neighbors on my block to buy my book and it’s like pulling teeth.

Here’s the slowing factor. It dawned on me fifty years ago on my chaplain beat that transients seemed to move rather swiftly on Skid Row in Los Angeles. Most street people entered and exited cafes and bars within 10 minutes. A few needed to spend the day or night in such establishments.

I discovered that I could run deep with them within an hour-and-a-half. The meetings may start out fast but the ties managed to slow us down within those encounters. I was in my mid-twenties back then and I liked to drive fast, walk fast, eat fast, talk fast, listen fast and preach fast. I am much older now so I have slowed down in those categories. Wait a minute, I still hold to most all of them but I do reduce my speed when I experience a profound bond.

Most Americans admit they choose to drive fast, read fast, text fast and even bond fast but what if they don’t reach the slow zone in their relationships with strangers? If we fail to take the time to engage deeply with someone over global warming or any other serious topics life on this planet will likely grow worse. What if we can hit the slow sides within minutes?

I may have sent this piece out sometime back but I believe it works for me here. A motorist suddenly swerved into my lane going 85 miles an hour causing me to brake fast to avoid hitting his car. He managed to give me a nasty signal when he passed by. I honestly didn’t know what I did to get that kind of attention. I always feel the need to get a little vengeance in those moments.

I decided to hold off on the retaliation and follow him for several miles beyond my turnoff. He finally exited the freeway and drove into a Denny’s restaurant parking lot. I figured it must be a great place given his speed to get there. I stood near him as he waited to get a table. He turned toward me for an instant and acknowledged me with a nice smile and I just left. I was certain he didn’t recognize me. Was it worth it to go out of my way for fifteen or twenty minutes to get a grin? It’s a slow process, friends; a slow process!

 

 

 

 

 

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