Our Selfish Consumer Culture by Robert Socha
On a highly foggy day where the road and sky blended in a flurry of greys, I came across an older grey car whose engine seized at the most inopportune time and location. The broken-down automobile could not wholly evacuate the roadway because of a shallow shoulder bordered by an immovable crash barrier, leaving half of its frame in the traffic lane. Blending the car’s color with the bleak day’s appearance and a tired electrical system straining to keep the hazards alive created a hazardous situation ripe for tragedy.
I drove by slowly and thought I should stop to offer assistance. Those thoughts prevailed, and I turned around to lend a hand. I parked my car on the shoulder facing traffic, headlights blazing, hazards blinking furiously warning the oncoming horde, a few hundred feet before the stranded traveler and dawned a reflective vest I carry in the trunk to hopefully gain the attention of approaching traffic and slow their advance. The man had already called a wrecker, but his car was immobile and its position dangerous. I told him I would stick around and guide traffic until the wrecker arrived.
The car’s precarious position lay in a small valley whose blind assent bent left, and its integrity compromised because of the low-level clouds obscuring the traffic’s vision. Standing in the roadway, I waved and motioned to the approaching vehicles to slow down and prepare to go around the stranded car. Having a commanding vision of the possibility of oncoming traffic, I tried to control traffic and let drivers know when the coast was clear for safe passage.
Many people heeded my efforts, slowing to a cautionary speed and passing the disabled car safely. Unfortunately, many others did not. Several vehicles, including an 18-wheeler, blew by the stranded auto and me, with my orange vest on, at highway speeds. One distracted driver was almost on top of us before they hit the brakes, and two vehicles that were too impatient to follow my commands nearly collided head-on!
The wrecker came, amber lights flashing, attached the disabled vehicle as fast as possible, and after the owner came to thank me, left as quickly as it arrived.
I continued about my day and hoped my efforts were fruitful.
The thought of those vehicles in such a hurry they failed to yield for even a few seconds to ensure safe passage has burdened me in the subsequent days and given me pause to wonder at the culture that has spawned such blatant disregard for their fellow man in distress. We fly by stranded vehicles blocking traffic at highway speed to get to our destination with nary a nodding of the head, acknowledging there is someone in need. We want to drive at highway speeds unimpeded, and that hedonistic pleasure supersedes any obligation to help.
Has our prosperity and largesse clouded our judgment and eroded the culture of denying oneself? When was the last time you heard anyone preach or teach the virtues of self-denial?
Thankfully, there is a more remarkable selflessness buried deep in the Christian foundations of our culture that bids one to come to the table of brotherhood, lay down our pursuits, even if for a moment, and attend to the aid of one in distress. I found joy in helping and hope to continually discover joy in everything pertaining to life and godliness this year, especially in the run-up to election day. I hope to continue to slow down, turn around, and lend a hand whenever possible, even if it is inconvenient.
I hope to overcome the selfishness our consumer culture perpetuates and be a warm smile on a cold grey day, delaying my agenda so another might accomplish theirs. May the words of my mouth and meditations of my heart ever work toward these ends.
About the Author
Robert Socha, BIO Robert Socha (so-ha), was born in southern California. He served 5 years 3 months active duty in the United States Air Force; honorably. After his service he took an Associate’s Degree in Practical Theology, where, through his studies, developed a deep love of God and Country and sincere appreciation of the value of Liberty. Robert and his beloved wife of 21-plus years are raising 4 beautiful Texan children. They moved to Hillsdale, Michigan, in 2013, to put their children in Hillsdale Academy. Robert is a sales professional. He and his wife consider Michigan a hidden gem, and absolutely love this city and state (current political environment notwithstanding) they’ve adopted.