Notice the dead tree lying across the creek bed? It appears to be holding the water back from flowing over the creek bed. But is it really that obvious or is it the dead leaves jammed up under the old tree, along with dirt and debris that over time has formed a more functional dam?
Isn’t it funny how often we look at a situation and automatically solve it in our mind?
Some see a homeless person on the street and automatically assume he is a bum, no job probably addicted to some type of drug. Some see people dressed very professionally with smiles upon their faces in their brand new cars and assume they have everything in life to make them happy. Some see a mom with a baby crying uncontrollably and think that mom has no idea what she is doing.
We tend to look to the easiest answer possible, the stereotypes, the ideas we have been spoon fed all our lives by the media and by each other. We hesitate to think any longer about the situation. Maybe we should. Maybe just maybe it is not the log damming the water but something we cannot see unless we walk up close and lean in further.
Maybe, just maybe that homeless man is out of a job and begging on the corner of Fern Valley Road and the expressway because his family really is in a homeless shelter. He could really be unemployed in this economy. Maybe, just maybe the beautiful professional lady in the BMW is the loneliest woman in the world in her isolated riches. Maybe, just maybe that mom was in a hurry to get groceries for dinner and skipped her baby’s naptime. She expected that she would have trouble, but has plans to lay her down for her nap as soon as they get home. Maybe our snap judgments are wrong. Maybe what we should do instead of judge the situation is to offer up a prayer for that person no matter who they appear to be, poor, rich or incompetent.
Unless we talk to or get to know a stranger then we will never know their life. We will never know if the tree is the dam for the water or if there are leaves, dirt and debris beneath the obvious answers. Let’s just start today with an open mind, not judging but instead accepting, not adding to the stereotypes but instead breaking free from them in our own minds. Today when you feel yourself starting to judge another person, stop yourself and just pray for that person and for yourself to be more open and loving and less judgmental; for we will never know every leaf that fell in that life or the past experiences that have lead to the use of that particular dam.