Alright tribe. Here we go. I have thought a long time about writing this blog entry and part of me didn’t want to. Why? Because it makes me eat a real big piece of humble pie! But you know what? It’s necessary! We all have been there. We all need to eat that piece of humble pie and then learn from it. So deep breath. Here I go!
Judgers & the Judged
I think it is safe to say that we have all judged someone one time or another. We have all looked at someone or their situation and came up with our own preconceived conclusion on why they are where they are. If you really think about it, doing that is really obnoxious. Who are we too judge someone when we do not know their whole picture? I actually wrote a whole blog piece about not judging others! But if I am going to be honest, I can’t say I have never judged someone else. I am guilty of it. I have done it, and that is why when it is done to me it really stings. A part of it is karma I think. Maybe God showing me why it’s not fair or right to judge someone else and their situation.
Let me give you an example. Have you ever seen someone who is homeless asking for money? I am sure you have, unless you are living on a private hill somewhere! I don’t know why, but I used to immediately look at what they were wearing. If I saw them in something that looked brand new like a pair of fresh Nike sneaks, I would think to myself – “Your asking me to give you my hard earned money, yet you have a fresh pair of sneakers on.” Now initially, I used to think that thought was a fair assumption, until I was put in a situation where my family needed extra help.
When Life changed
I have been out of work since May because of my back issues. It’s been difficult. My husband and I feel like the finances should be a joint effort, one that I want to contribute to. I love working outside of the home. Don’t get me wrong, it comes with A LOT of mom guilt. Being away from your kids is never easy, but I worked hard for my degree and I have a job I love. A job that helps others and saves their lives. Unfortunately, my job as a cardiovascular specialist is very physically intensive which is not a good combination for my back issues.
How is all this connected to my thoughts on judgment? Well , since being out of work, finances have been extremely difficult. My husband has been working over 60 hours a week to try and make up the difference. I am facing the very real possibility of not being able to go back to my job. It all depends on how I heal, which is a very long and slow process. And even if I do heal to 100% my job may not be waiting for me anymore. That has been made very clear from several letters from my employer.
Big piece of humble pie served
In our current situation my family is eligible for WIC. If you are not sure what that is, it stands for women, infants, and children. It’s a supplemental government nutrition program that basically gives you a stipend of money every month for very specific things from the grocery store like milk, eggs, cheese, fruit. The essentials that children need. Here is my freaking big ass piece of humble pie. I applied for it for my kids and was approved.
Man, my first shopping trip to the store using WIC checks was mortifying. But you know what? I deserved to feel that. I was literally in a sense, just like the homeless man I saw who had nice shoes. There I was in the store, using WIC checks for milk and eggs, yet I have an Iphone. I have a nice purse, a Michael Kors wallet. Decent clothes. It was in that moment at the store, where I experienced the looks and judgement that I had given the homeless man with the nice shoes.
I wanted to explain my story to the strangers. The strangers who were annoyed I was holding up the line because WIC checkouts take forever. I wanted to tell them our story. To tell them, I know I don’t look like I am struggling, but my family really is. We have two boys, I’ve had three back surgeries, I might lose my job. I wouldn’t use these checks if we really didn’t need to. Of course, I didn’t say a word, but in that moment, I wanted them to just understand.
My pride was shot to hell. And what’s worse, WIC checks are very specific on what you can use them for, literally down to the ounces of milk and cereal. So, not only during that first trip did I hold up the line, but I had to put so many things back because I grabbed the wrong ounces. I never wanted to run out of a grocery store so fast in my entire life.
Judging is not our right
After that first trip, I sat in the car for a while. It was in that moment, that I realized I have no right to assume what others situations are. I have no right to judge that homeless man for his nice shoes. Who knows how he got them and what his situation was a few days prior. There was actually a story that aired on the news about a jogger who gave the shoes off his feet to a man who was homeless. So again, I have no idea where the nice shoes came from and it shouldn’t make a difference. Life can flip you upside down on your ass in a second. That’s what life did to me 6 months ago and I am still trying to find a way to get up.
My point is, BE KIND! Choose peace instead of anger, judgement, and resentment. Choose to look for the positive instead of seeing the negative thats easily tangible. It’s so easy to look at someone and judge them for what they show on the outside. But we really have NO IDEA what life is like for that person. I’ll speak for myself when I say, trying to look together helps me just get through my day. It doesn’t mean behind the Iphone, the purse, and my nice wallet, that my family is struggling any less. We are just doing the best we can with what life is throwing at us. So when you are served a big piece of humble pie, eat it, let yourself learn from it, and then do better…