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Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Snapshot

Seeing a child wear mix-matched clothes. 

Watching a grumpy man at the register. 

A woman crying in her kitchen.                             

A grandmother picking flowers from her garden.

Snapshots.  Just one moment in time leaving the audience to make their own interpretation.  The pictures don't come with explanations.  It's not a video so we don't see the events before and after that moment.  We are left to fill in the blanks ourselves and make our own judgements.

I do that.  I do that with people I know.  I do that with strangers.

A child screaming at the table next to me.  I think to myself, "Why isn't that lady helping that child calm down?  Why doesn't she just take him outside? How annoying."  Little do I know that it's a child with disabilities that hasn't received their proper medication today because the aunt is babysitting and she forgot it.  She feels helpless and embarrassed, and she can't leave yet because she's waiting on the waitress to give her the bill.  I pass my judgement.  I fill in the blanks while knowing nothing. 

I say excuse me to the person in front of me in line at the market.  She completely ignores me and doesn't bother to move.  "Rude." I say to myself.  But, what I don't know is that she's hard of hearing.  I label her without knowing the facts.

I'm reminded that I need to give people the benefit of the doubt, assuming I am only seeing a snapshot and don't really know what's what.  And, even if I've seen 4 pages of the photo album, I still don't know what's on page 5.  I have no platform to judge and should instead show mercy.  I hope people do the same for me.

By the way, the snapshots I listed earlier?  I wonder if I would have come to the right conclusions?

The child had an accident in her pants and the change of clothes didn't match what she was wearing.

The grumpy man had just stubbed his toe. 
He wasn't grumpy.  He was hurt. 

The woman crying in her kitchen 
                      was cutting onions.                          

And, the grandmother picking flowers 
was grieving.  She planned to lay them
on her husband's tombstone.

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