I left my house at 7:28 a.m. (indeed a Christmas miracle!) hoping to beat the total chaos, (aka HW51 junction from I169). It was smooth sailing on Memorial, all the way to the 169 on-ramp and around to the 71st street exit. Then just past Target, brake lights for a mile. I was in the far left lane on the eight lane highway, which was quickly turning into a parking lot, and I needed to be in the far right lane in order to exit at the junction in just two short miles. I started to panic. 7:43 and I needed to be at 41st and Peoria by 8:00 to meet HKB for a breakfast farmers’ market. I would never make it. For ten seconds, I pondered defeat and started piecing together alternative routes through city streets, and then I traded them for Amazing Race strategy and started edging my way through the crowd to the other side. It was motion sick inducing stop and go for the next two miles. It seemed like everyone had their Amazing Race faces on and they each had a destination as important as the $1,000,000 pit stop. As I exited 169 on the loop of death to connect with 51, I vowed never to leave my house before 8:00 a.m. again (because really the only alternative is leaving at 7:00 and How could I EVER make that happen?). As I was frantically checking out my left window for cars trying to merge onto the ramp I was coming off from, I saw red and blue flashing lights…first I panicked, even though it COULDN’T be a police officer coming for me, it’s an instinct (and I drink too much coffee). I looked again and saw an ambulance bobbing in and out of the constant stream of racers.
And right there, at 7:51 am, in the middle of HW 51, the second Christmas miracle of the morning occurred: All four lanes of traffic, which moments ago were packed with drivers racing to beat their bosses to work, frantically applying mascara while wheeling around crowded on-ramps, spilling coffee on their white shirts at sudden stops (that’s me), fending for themselves at all costs, were parting left and right to prepare a path down the center for the flashing blue and red. In those brief silent and still seconds on the highway, I was united with the rest of the Tulsa Metro traffic in a new goal: Get the ambulance through as quickly as possible because it’s the honorable thing to do (ok, it’s also the law, but I was having a moment).
Community. This is what it looks like. The individual members, who have individual goals, working together because of a common goal, which is more powerful than their individual goals. The ambulance compels because eventually you could be the one at the destination, dying if it doesn’t reach you in time. So, I’ve been thinking all day, if that’s all it takes for community to form, why do we spend so much time talking about it instead of just uniting for our common goal: Get the gospel through as fast as possible knowing the whole world without it will die if we don’t reach them in time.