BBC Radio Merseyside Thought for the Day 25 February 2005
At a party the other night a friend was talking about being shocked at the behaviour of motorists - one who saw an old woman crossing but didn't slow down, instead hit his horn, and deliberately missed her by inches; others who bounce over speed bumps at high speed, sending sparks flying from their chassis; and those who shout abuse at my friend, in his slow old car. He said, "I take offence at being sworn at by someone I don't even know just for going slower than him."
Driving home from the party I guiltily made sure I was inside the speed limit. But another man was weaving fast between moving vehicles across three lanes of Queens Drive. At the lights I noticed his car sticker proudly said, MANIAC.
Before the next lights one of those oversized ozone destroying vehicles cut me up from inside. It was being driven by a tiny woman and bore numerous stickers saying CAREFUL - BABY ON BOARD and PREGNANT WOMAN ON BOARD.
And on the radio, late night talk show guests were debating the perceived coarseness and callousness of our society. There was plenty of resigned agreement around the reality of that. I felt a bit shamed by all this, because I'm in it, and I know I contribute to it when I'm rushing around from A to B.
Much later, this verse from Michael Leunig came to me. It offers a good antidote to our overheated society:
God help us to live slowly:
To move simply:
To look softly:
To allow emptiness:
To let the heart create for us.