Eastern Courtesy

Charlottetown, P.E.I.

Although I am quite content to live in my own province, I have noticed a great difference between it and the eastern provinces of Canada.

Take the campgrounds for example. In order to reduce the cost of accommodations and food, we pull a tent trailer and stay in campgrounds when we travel. It does take time to set up and break camp, but the savings are well worth the effort! Through the years, we have grown accustomed to the noise that is so often found in campgrounds close to home. We have learned to expect blaring music, screams from angry campers, and the general clatter of people in drunken revelry. We tend to go to bed on the early side, and it is hard to fall asleep with the boom-boom of the neighbor's music causing our bed to bounce up and down, but at least this is a steady sound, and if that's the only noise, we do eventually get to sleep. The screams and cries of the neighbors who have had too much to drink are another story, however. They always occur just when we are about to drop into dreamland, and are enough to wake us up for the next 30 minutes.

When we traveled to the east this year, we were in for a big surprise. At our first campground in New Brunswick, we wondered why it was so quiet. It was the middle of the week, and since we only tend to camp on weekends at home, we figured that the noisy campers would only be out on weekends. However every day after that, no matter which eastern province we found ourselves in, we experienced the same respect towards other campers. No "boom boom" to rock us to sleep! Why?

Another prime example of eastern courtesy happened just today. My family and I were trying to cross a street in Summerside, P.E.I. We hadn't seen the car zooming around the corner, and only as it was trying to turn us into permanent fossilized specimens engraved in the asphalt were we able to retreat to the curb. We weren't overly astonished, for this is what we had learned to expect back home, and when I glanced up at his license plate, I wasn't surprised to see that it was very similar to the one that graced the back of our own van! The next car to zoom around the corner was different, however. It slowed to a stop before we had even ventured back onto the street, and motioned for us to cross. His license plate? Prince Edward Island!

Another eastern courtesy that we learned to really appreciate was the tendency of the local residents to be helpful. We have the habit of getting lost every time we venture out, and we are used to standing around with a map, desperately trying to figure out where we are and how to get where we want to go, and no one even seems to notice. However in Halifax, St. John, Fredericton, Charlottetown, and a host of other smaller eastern towns, the simple fact that we had an open map in our hands was enough to make several passersby stop and ask if we were lost!

These same scenarios happened time and time again throughout our trip, and we knew it couldn't just be chance. The friendliness, courtesy and respect of eastern Canadians warmed our hearts, causing us to feel safe and at home. How we would love to live here!

I began to wonder why things couldn't be the same in my home province. It is true that most of the people I know (except for the blessed retirees!) are stressed out, always rushing around to accomplish their goals without even thinking about anyone else's needs. And I'm ashamed to say that this is my tendency as well! Is it possible that we have let our circumstances turn us into noisy zoomers (someone who likes to share loud music and zooms by having no time to stop)?

Isn't it interesting that the One who might have been the most stressed-out Zoomer in the history of our planet is the One who always took the time to address the needs of others? Jesus was constantly in demand by everyone. The sick ones came to Him to be healed. Broken hearts approached Him for solace. The Pharisees, Sadducees and other "religious" authorities moved towards Him to find fault. Everyone hungered to hear His spiritual insights. No matter where He went, people waylaid Him. They had needs, and their needs were important to Jesus, even more important than His own! Jesus never refused to liberally hand out help. He was the perfect example of a considerate, loving person who always placed others above Himself.

Might it be He was from Eastern Canada?

At the risk of over generalizing, I have to admit that I have met some in our own province who remind me of eastern Canadians; and we have also met some out east who reminded us of home. There are always exceptions to the rule, but the important thing is this: What kind of an impact do YOU have on others? Are you a noisy zoomer, or are do you follow in Jesus' steps?

May we all draw closer to Jesus so that He may teach us how to live in a way that we, just like the residents of eastern Canada, can make a difference in the lives of others.

"Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men." (Titus 3:1-2 NIV)

"But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness." (James 3:17-18 NIV)

Rob Chaffart

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