I went grocery shopping today. Yes. It was 2 degrees outside and I toted two children with me and I am 6 months pregnant. It was a bleak outlook… however… I made it home and only forgot 1 item. That my friends, is a winning moment! I feel happy and accomplished and life is good. I know- I’m an easy one to please sometimes! The reason I bring this up, is that each time without fail when I go shopping, I see many people at the store that look like they need a happy moment. So many of them look so depressed! Is it really that bad???? My point—- is that maybe it is.
How dare we pass judgement on someone without knowing the facts! I’m serious! I am guilty, as many of you are, of passing off someone as a certain stereotype, however, I have been on a mission to change that about myself in the past few years. And its paying off. I am slowing becoming way more open to opportunities of love and friendship and aware of others struggles, that not only am I sufficiently humbled- but I “feel” for people in a way I haven’t felt before. A loving, motivating, charitable feeling.
I have had three of my neighbors, and not just people in my neighborhood, no really- my next door neighbors- one across the street, one two doors down one way, and one right next to me the other way- that have suffered terrible losses these past months- either personal, marital, family deaths, or all of the above! I have more friends and family that have had terrible moments, but these three come to mind as they are the most recent. I noticed and even had conversations with people (that included myself at times) that didn’t understand and had passed judgement that, after finding out the “inside stories”, were totally not right or true. Where one thought there was abuse happening, it was really a terribly trying agressive brain disease…. where one thought there was neglect and personal traits to blame it was really emotional breakdown from lack of proper care, friendship and counseling….. where one thought it was a one-sided argument it was really a two-sided terrible battle that had raged for years! Satan is the author of lies- and he’s really good at planting them in our feeble minds! Its our duty to find the inside story before we create and possibly even share, a lie about another of God’s children.
I have been moved to tears many times in the past few months as I realize not only the blessing of NOT going through what they have, but of the blessing they are in my life and also of being able to share compassion with them and true sympathy with others who have passed judgement on these people due to the outward facts, without knowing the “inside story”. I am grateful for my personality trait inherited from my amazing mother to not be shy, and to try to help- especially when we don’t understand a situation and want to. This trait has many times led me to be able to help and show compassion to someone when they needed it and gain the “inside stories.”
A long time ago I read an article in a religious magazine that talked about this very subject and how one woman changed her outlook while in line at a store behind a woman who had not brought the right kind of card to pay with and was holding up the line trying to figure out what to do. The article stated that she had a thought come to her mind while she was feeling frustrated about the situation. Simply that “you know what- her order is just as important as mine!” and from then on, she has rarely been frustrated when the line is held up- especially realizing that at one time or another- it was herself holding up the line!
I took that message to heart and have also found that showing compassion to someone when they literally least expect it is priceless. The relief I have offered some women through a simple look or few words of “its okay” or “go ahead” or even voicing the words as I did today at the store in this exact situation “Your order is just as important as mine- no hurry.” Can cause such relief to flood their face and control to come back to them (that they may or may not feel they have often) that it is worth it every time.
Take what you want from these thoughts, but what I hope comes across to you is the fact that without the inside story from each and every person you meet and see, even those at the grocery store, that they each deserve to be treated with respect- love- and as the child of God that they are regardless of how they look, act, or smell. 🙂