Few people enjoy sitting at red lights and I am no exception. I dread going to my dentist in Montclair as I must navigate 31 traffic lights on Route 23 alone. Just once was I fortunate enough to have every light green as I approached. But commuting victories are scarce, and more likely than not I will continue to encounter such nuisances. Only with great patience can I remain a responsible driver.
A few weeks ago, I had a most remarkable experience. As I was driving home from my daughter’s house, I approached a red light on said highway. I noticed the license plate on the car ahead of me. It creatively delivered the following message in abbreviated form: “There is only one God and He loves all of us.” I pulled alongside the driver to impart my agreement. As I lowered my window, the driver, a man who appeared to be of Middle Eastern descent, turned and made eye contact with me. “I love your license plate!” I stated enthusiastically. “Yes,” he replied, “God is amazing.” “Thank you and God bless you,” I responded. Just then, the light changed to green. As we both proceeded along our respective journeys, we turned toward each other to exchange one final smile and wave goodbye. In less than 10 seconds, we shared a moment of solidarity that reminded us of who we really are: not Christians or Muslims, Americans or Mexicans, men or women. We are all children of the one same God – brothers and sisters seeking to be accepted and appreciated exactly as we are.
Fast forward two weeks: same highway, different intersection. As my car idled at the red light, I utilized my time to sing along to the sounds on the radio. A pickup truck, occupied by three young men in plaid shirts sporting Duck Dynasty-style beards, pulled alongside me. I glanced over as I heard one call out, “What station are you listening to, ma’am?” (“Ma’am?” I thought. “Am I really that old?”) “CBS FM,” I replied. “That’s the Police: ‘Don’t Stand So Close to Me’!” he cheerfully shouted. As the music played, we instinctively vocalized the chorus in perfect harmony with each other. “She knows that song!” he exclaimed to his buddies. “It’s one of my favorites,” I responded while extending a playful thumbs up. Our joyful moment abruptly concluded as once again red turned to green. As both vehicles drove away, their occupants reluctantly released a shared moment of camaraderie as harmonies gently faded into the expanding distance between them.
The world is filled with so much heartache, distrust, and division. Humanity craves unity and peace. Seemingly insignificant moments such as these can collectively have a greater effect on mankind than all the petitions, marches, laws, and legislation imposed by our leaders forcing equality. Don’t wait for others to fix what’s broken. Be an ambassador of unity and harmony. Small acts of daily solidarity can make a huge impact globally.