Of Turn Signals and iPods

Both are a bad sign – that we do not want to know what is going on in the world around us – nor do we care.

turnsignalYou shall love your neighbor as yourself. – Matthew 22:39

Although I have not conducted any scientific studies into the matter, I am convinced that most cars here in East Tennessee have turn signals that have never been used. Seriously, if there is a market for used turn signals – the Knoxville area must supply the lion’s share. Be it changing lanes, turning onto a different road, or a quick trip into the local McDonalds – one is never sure where people are going because they do not signal. I constantly find myself behind a rapidly slowing vehicle – thank goodness the brake lights work – only to find that once again it is an East Tennessean who does not know what the heck that stick on the steering column is for. To add fuel to the fire – even at today’s prices – I will often see the turn signal in use AS the car turns – instead of well before the change of direction as intended.

As disjointed as it sounds, iPods fall into this same category. iPods – those little gadgets that store hours and hours music and video. Given any group of teenagers, a large percentage of them will have the earbuds firmly in place and listening to the latest “I hate my parents” music – all the while completely oblivious to the world around them. I went to a Denny’s lately – observed both the short order cook AND the manager sporting the telltale wires that went to the miniplayer secured in their pocket.

Our society has fallen into an appalling practice of having no concern for the world around us. “I will turn when I want to turn – if you are following me, then just watch out.” “I will listen to what I want. The world around me does not matter, nor am I interested.” The “I’m OK You’re OK” attitude has never gone away – it has just changed into “I’m OK, and I could not care less how you are doing.”

We are called to love our neighbors as we love ourselves – with the understanding that in our fallen state “self-love” is at its highest. Yet, how are we to love our neighbor if we are unaware of them – especially if we purposely shut them out. I am sure that if the Parable of the Good Samaritan was recast into today’s circumstances – the priest and the Levite would have iPod and turn signal issues. The Good Samaritan would respond – only because he did not have his ear buds in – and he would signal before getting off the road.

So – use your turn signal, turn off the iPod, and take a look and listen to the world around you. We just might find some neighbors to love.

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