The streets in many portions of my city were laid out not only before big cars were common, but before CARS were common. The master plan had nothing to do with overcrowded population density that turns garages into studio apartments to rent out for $1500 (I wish I was kidding) and fills driveways and both sides of the residential streets with bumper-to-bumper parallel parking.
So when driving down the streets of these sections of town, you are often confronted with a very real problem – Another car.
You see, with cars parked on both sides of the street, that doesn’t leave enough room in most places for two cards to drive down these two-way streets.
How often is our life like this? There is so much going on, so many people around us, things seemingly blocking us from moving forward. And every once in awhile, we come face to face with a very real problem. There is no way for us to move forward, and for someone else to also move forward, without creating a head-on collision.
What do we do when I want my idea, my dream, my opinion, my choice, to get through to this world, but someone else wants the same thing?
The answer is also found on the streets of San Bruno.
In my early days here the thought stressed me out. Is it the bigger car that gets to push through? Does someone need to go backwards for the other to advance? Do we slow to a 1 mph crawl and try to scrape past each other, holding my breath as if that somehow makes my car narrower? Who has the right of way? Or in this case, the right of passage?
But it didn’t take long to figure out that maturity (aka – time in this city) teaches you a thing or two about right of passage. It wasn’t about who was bigger, faster, or needed to get somewhere sooner. The race was not to get through first, but rather to yield first.
Yes, to yield first.
The common courtesy rule has become that the first driver to reach a place where he/she can pull over, and let the other car pass, simply does so. Once the opposing car completes her passage, you can simply pull out and be on your merry way.
Amazing, isn’t it?
A little humility. A little yielding.
No yelling, no shouting, no “I turned down this block and therefore was here first so you must get out of my way.”
Simply, “You know what – I can pause right here for just a moment, and you can go. Then I’ll take a turn. We’ll both get where we’re going.”
Learning this is in itself a Right of Passage. When we choose to live humbly and graciously, laying down our preferences and our hurry to allow others to also move forward, we become better. When we prefer one another, and say, “I’ll be the first to pause and listen” instead of “I’ll be the first to pass over your opinion,” we have matured. When we pull our dreams and directions to the side, just for a moment, instead of slowing down the entire process and maybe getting ourselves and someone else dinged up while we push through, everyone will find success much sooner.
“Love one another with the kindly affection of brotherhood. Prefer one another in honor.”
Brothers and sisters – let’s grow up in how we interact with others out there on the streets. Let’s prefer one another. Let’s be first to yield our own position sometimes, knowing that later, someone will also yield to us. Let’s reach a new Right of Passage together.