On my daily drive home from the office there is one spot where I am really on alert.
It’s the half mile or so of westbound Route 22 in Bridgewater approaching the exit for southbound routes 202/206.
The ramp that feeds the traffic leaving Route 22 can’t handle the volume at rush hour, so the cars back up onto the highway, sometimes a couple of dozen deep.
This would be only an irritant for those trying to head south — if everyone were patient.
Instead, the daily backup is a serious safety hazard because of drivers who may think that their time is more valuable than your time.
Every day, without fail, as I drive by that spot in the safety of the left lane, I see at least one driver, and sometimes two or more, who won’t take a place in line but pass the waiting cars and cut in closer to the ramp.
Cutting in is a tricky business at best, so the frenetic driver often has to stop in the lane of westbound traffic on Route 22, forcing oncoming cars to swerve to the left to avoid a collision.
As a variation, some drivers get on line but then pull out into the Route 22 traffic and cruise up to the front to cut back in.
I estimate that the most time a driver can save with these maneuvers is five minutes; meanwhile, this behavior creates a dangerous condition for other motorists who are minding their own business.
One day recently, as part of my job, I read a reflection based on a passage from St. Paul’s letter to the Christian community in Philippi.
A part of that passage reads as follows: “Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but (also) everyone for those of others.’’
Sometimes, we hear that Jesus said we must carry our cross if we are to be his disciples.
What that means can be very different depending on the circumstances of our individual lives.
For some, it might mean caring for an incapacitated family member.
For some, it might mean volunteering for ministries in prisons, hospitals, or nursing homes.
For some, it might mean putting up with ridicule or indifference because of religious beliefs.
For some, even in our time, it might mean martyrdom.
But for all of us, it also means applying the Gospel to what may seem like the most mundane aspects of our lives.
I’m not going to claim that I’m the world’s most courteous driver; too many people know better.
I’ve run my share of amber lights and passed on my share of shoulders because I thought my time was more valuable or my business more urgent than the time and business of everyone else on the road.
And I’m sure that the Gospel never crossed my mind when I was acting out my version of the “professional driver” in a car commercial.
But Paul doesn’t seem to have left us any wiggle room with that lesson: “Regard others as more important than yourselves.’’
He didn’t mention any exceptions, so we can conclude only that he meant it to apply to everything we do and everywhere we go, and certainly on our roads and highways, where more than 30,000 people — every one of them important in the eyes of God — will die again this year.