Are you sure you know the whole story? How can we love one another and not condemn?
photo source: Sean MacEntee
The other day we were late meeting friends at the beach, but I knew the contents of the gas tank would not get us there. I missed my turn for the gas station and had to flip a U-ey. Then all the pumps were taken. I made a tour around the entire gas station, scanning for a spot. One was opening, a car was approaching. She didn’t see it until she’d already passed it. Before she could back up, I had started to pull into the spot.
From her perspective, I might have snaked her spot. But, if she’d been there 60 seconds sooner, she’d have known that I had already circled the entire perimeter. She didn’t know. And two seconds later another pump opened up. Good for her, too!
As fate would have it, the car at the pump ahead of me was parked catty-wompus, blocking both pumps. The driver looked at me; I smiled. I assumed she would back up so that we could both pump. She didn’t. She went inside the convenience store.
When she returned, I assumed she’d move her car, but no, she took her child from the back seat inside the store to go to the bathroom!
At this point I backed out and looked for another pump, seething just a wee bit. Shaking my head in judgement some, too. How inconsiderate!
But, I remembered something: I don’t know what her day has been. I don’t know the circumstances behind her haphazard park job. I don’t know that she’s spent the last day in the hospital praying for a loved one. I don’t know that her child is seriously ill and potty stops are super crazy affairs calling for urgency. I don’t know that she might be hanging on by a thread and the fact that she blocks one person from her gas pump is small potatoes in her economy.
I just don’t know.
I do know that we have different stories. As Deanna so eloquently stated earlier this week,
Watching another mother’s choice from afar makes it really easy to think that we know best. But watching from afar doesn’t give us the inside track to the process that she has gone through to get to that point.
We don’t know what goes on behind the scenes of the person we are tempted to judge.
Instead we can be gracious. We can give the benefit of the doubt. We can let those small irritations or disagreements roll off our backs.
My mom used to call it “being a duck”. A duck’s feathers are somewhat waterproof. The rain doesn’t soak in and weigh them down. Let’s be ducks. Let’s not let judgement and disapproval of someone else or the way they’ve disappointed or offended weigh us down.
I love this quote from President Reagan:
Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.
Sounds good to me!