Darrell J. Pedersen

Everyone a Salute

My friend and I walk around our neighborhood several mornings a week.  One on each side of the street.  For weeks now, I have been giving a vigorous wave to oncoming vehicles. 

Many wave back.  Some smile.  None have given obscene gestures.  Nobody has tried to run me down.

Pretty much everybody waved at everybody when I was a kid.  Sometimes it was a hearty, full hand lifted high in the air.  Often is was the pointer finger raised from the wheel.  In our rural community, everybody seemed to know everybody.  And greet everybody.

Today, I know very few who drive past when we walk.  I have no idea if they are upper class, lower class or somewhere in between.  I have no idea if they are Christian, Muslim, Jewish, atheist or somewhere in between.  Progressive, moderate or conservative.  Pro-Life, Pro-Choice or somewhere in between.  Victims of Covid-19, front-line workers or think the whole thing is a hoax.

I don’t know if they are employed, working from home, laid off, retired, or somewhere in between.  A felon, judge, law enforcement.  Concerned about climate change or think it’s a hoax.

Everybody gets a wave.  I intend my wave to be a salute to their humanity.  I am convinced that God created and loves every single one of them.  I am convinced that Jesus lived, died and rose again to give every single one of them deep, rich and abundant life here, now and forever.  Same for me.

Those people I meet, every one of them, they are making their way through a broken and troubled world.  My wave, my salute, no big deal, just a recognition that they are precious human beings and that we are all facing this most difficult age together.  Not alone.

(Originally printed in The Brainerd Dispatch, Reader Opinion piece, May 2020)

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