I am sitting here watching the day come to an end. I am so exhausted that I can feel it deep in my bones. The burden of all the things that I did not accomplish today weighs heavy on me. The day ends and it seems like it just started. Lord, I cannot believe the spin this world is in. It revolves so fast that I think it makes us crazy – the whole world.
Today, I was behind a woman driving too slow and a little erratic. As I pulled up to a red light, I had my mean cold stare on my face so she could see how displeased I was, but she didn’t notice. She busy talking on her cell phone, angrily beating the steering wheel with her free hand, which wasn’t that free, with the cigarette between two fingers. On further inspection, I saw a sweet little baby asleep in the back seat. It’s angel like face a stark contrast to the woman in the front seat. Did she forget he was there? She being so wrapped up in her drama – in her own little world that she forgot to open the window a crack to let the toxic smoke escape. I judged her at that red light and if it was possible, I would have told her how wrong she was – how bad of a mother she was.
I now recall a time long ago, when I stood at the kitchen window, full ashtray, and a diminishing pack of cigarettes that I could not afford to buy. I remember the hell I was in at that moment. A mother of two sweet angels and in a bad marriage. Did I forget about my babies in the chaos of my emotions? Yes, I did but I was young and didn’t know any better. So who am I to judge?
This is what it means to seek the truth that Jesus was talking about. Do unto others… Love thy neighbor… God is the final judge… All those lessons that I sat through and nodded my head in agreement. Yes justice will be served and I found such joy in that. All those hurts done to me would be set right, if I only believe in a righteous God. A heavenly Father that could make everything all right – as long as I was a good Christian and did not sin.
Yet, Jesus also talks about specks in people’s eyes and logs in our own and how we are to turn the other cheek. He talks of loving your enemy and such things. To love the ones that hurt and abuse. To love the one that breaks a spirit. Are you talking to me Lord?
My first reaction to that lady in the car; driving too slow and making ME late was anger. When I pulled up to her car and saw that she was preoccupied with the phone call and cigarette, it fed my anger. And seeing that innocent baby, brought my anger to a boiling point. I was ready to pour on the judgment. Then the light turn green and my thoughts turned to more important things, like myself, and the place I needed to be. I passed my judgment and sped away.
Jesus also said “they know not what they do” and now that I think about it, a lot of the time I don’t know what I am doing either. I react instead of processing the situation. I assume that people are “wrong” or “bad” when they don’t meet my standards. What if “they do not know what they are doing”? What if they are doing the only thing they know how to do? What would I feel towards that woman if I knew she was doing her best at that moment. Could she do better? Probably, but couldn’t I also do better?
Recently I was judged. It’s the beginning of high school for my boys and I have been asked to help with the band booster. It is my first year and I am stumbling along, trying to find my way. I have been given the job of ordering shirts for the other booster parents. I must admit, I am probably in over my head, but doing the best I can. I messed up and did not order a shirt for someone. Her disapproval was so apparent. She lashed me with her words and I felt like a fool. She acted like I did it intentionally, that I maliciously decided that she was the one I was going to pick on. Her anger shocked me. I did not know that her shirt was not in the order. I do not know why her shirt was not ordered. It was beyond my power. Beyond my understanding, yet I was being judged as failure. Yet, wasn’t I doing the same thing to the mother in the car? Maybe she doesn’t know what she is doing, and she is stumbling along like the rest of us.
I get so caught up in the importance of me that I cannot see what others are going through. Before I judge that parent who is upset with me for not ordering her shirt, I need to take a long look at myself, because she and I are not that different. Maybe I need to do something else, Jesus did ask us to forgive those as we have been forgiven.
The real world revolves and it is only my little world that I have created that spins out of control. I have put myself in the center and in charge. It is only when I step out of that narcissistic world of my own do I see that am not that special. With that change of perspective, I am free to be myself and the heavy burden lifts. I have nothing to prove. All I need to do is thank God for this beautiful day and for this lesson.