From the publisher | August 16, 2022

Giving way

Photo by Wendy McFadden

On the Isle of Mull, off the west coast of Scotland, most of the roads are “single track.” That is, they’re one-lane roads with periodic passing places—small bump-outs that accommodate a couple of vehicles. When you see a car (or a double-decker bus) headed your way, then you pull into the next passing place. Or, if the wide spot is on the other side of the road, you stop where you are and let the other driver swing around you.

Drivers are regularly looking ahead to see where the next passing place is and figure out who should give way. If it’s unclear, one car flashes its lights to indicate that it’s waiting and the other is welcome to proceed. To add to the excitement, the roads have no shoulders and sometimes there are stone walls on both sides.

It turns out that this sort of driving feels rather friendly. You pass each other at slow speeds and make eye contact (after all, your bumpers are just a few inches apart). Both drivers wave, one offering a thank you to the one who gave way and the other lifting a hand to say you’re welcome. There’s lots of cheery waving with all the people who share your road. (This is not at all like driving around Chicago.)

With whom do you share your road? Perhaps the members of your local church, for starters. When participants at National Youth Conference were asked via Instagram what they especially appreciated about their congregations, many mentioned the sense of intergenerational community, of family, and of welcome.

When we travel together week after week, we have the opportunity to see each other. When your well-being and mine depend on slowing down and giving way, we grow in understanding. And when we practice this at church, we demonstrate the love of God to our children and youth—and anyone else who is watching.

Wendy McFadden is publisher of Brethren Press and Communications for the Church of the Brethren.