You haven’t walked in my shoes

be kind

So I’ve had a bunch of thoughts rolling around in my head that I want to write about. Get ready.  It started yesterday when I was in Starbucks (which I love, honestly, I only drink coffee but it relaxes me to be there). I was minding my own business, reading, journal-ing, enjoying my coffee.  Three ladies sat behind me after their morning run.  Right on – I’m all for that they were out running.  But I heard them proceed to talk about a mutual friend of theirs who apparently had been married four times. Now, I am a proponent of marriage, and staying married, but I’m in the midst of a divorce and the pain is raw.  I tried not to listen, but heard them making many, many comments about their friend.  From her judgement on the man to her choice to wear a white dress the fourth time.  What screamed in my head, so loud that eventually I couldn’t stay anymore and I packed up my stuff and left, was that they had no idea what she’d lived through.  Neither do I, but I know that it’s more than meets the eye.  It always is.

Today, back at Starbucks, I saw a woman who was homeless.  I was getting ready to buy her something to eat and then listened to her talk to another woman who checked on her.  It was clear she was schizophrenic.  I paused a minute, wondering if I really wanted to open myself up to whatever discussion would ensue.  But I did, avoiding would have been pretty chicken.  Julie was sweet and my heart ached for her.  I was sad that she was in that situation and no one was there to help her, care for her on Easter morning.

These situations and others I’m going through have had me thinking. We can look at other people, and think we know what they’re going through.  Maybe we think that because we’ve been in a similar situation, or maybe the same situation, and we ‘know’ what they’re feeling and thinking. But that’s not the truth.  Everyone has a different truth, a different story that got them to today.  And the book we read on the outside doesn’t even begin to scrape the surface of the journey that got them there.  I know that’s true for me.  Even sometimes when we’re one of the people in a situation, our truth about it can be different than the other person’s.  That can hurt, a lot.  But it goes back to the same idea that we really don’t know what they’ve gone through.  We can think we do, but we really don’t.  We didn’t live their life, their joy, their pain.

I think the only thing we can do is have grace. Grace towards other people, grace to ourselves.  Grace like God gives to each of us.  And it can be hard, I know, it is for me at least. But we have to try because, at least for me, I know I’d want that, I’d pray for it. So the next time I’m tempted to comment on or chime in to someone else’s life, I’ll stop.  Stop and know that they need grace and understanding as much as I do.

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