Don’t judge others until you have walked in their shoes.
I admit it. I am sorry. I have judged you. I have found myself jumping to conclusions about your choices. When you have missed something, or came late to an event, or just plain forgot about a meeting – I have judged you, wrongly. For this I am sorry.
The last 12 days, I have been without Pete. He traveled to China and Japan for work, and he has been sorely missed here at home. It has been 12 very long days and nights. I have found myself on extreme highs and lows. It has been true suffering for me during this Lenten Season.
For the first time ever, I realized how hard it is to be a single parent with three children. I now recognize that I have been judging people harshly.
I missed appointments for the kids. I drove kids to the wrong place. I missed games and events. I picked up kids at the wrong time and even forgot kids. I dropped off kids at games that weren’t starting for another hour in 30 degree temperatures. I forgot my own appointments and commitments.
To make matter worse, we gave up eating out this Lent, so I made almost every single meal (except for a few that I just threw in the towel because it was too overwhelming). I was exhausted and worn out and tired and sick of being in my car. There were days that I went to bed and wished away the next day because I didn’t want to get up and start the routine over again. Even weekends were jammed packed with events and playdates and parties.
How. Do. Single. Parents. Do. This?
This morning as I was reflecting on all this time without Pete, I realized that I have been very judgmental. I have made remarks when parents drop off their kids at the wrong times. I have criticized people when they have forgotten to bring snacks to events that they clearly signed up for. I have been that person who couldn’t even one time step into the other person’s shoes. I judged without even thinking about what that person’s world must look like.
As Pete returns tomorrow from China, I cannot wait to have his support again. I cannot wait to share in the daily tasks of parenting. I need him. I cannot do it without him – atleast not more than 2 weeks.
Each day that I awoke, I prayed for God’s strength. I told Him – there is no way I can get through this day without you pushing me forward. There is no way I can do this alone. Forgive me when I forget an appointment, when I drop off kids at the wrong places and when I don’t want to look at my calendar because it reminds me of all I have to do. God, remind me that I need to be less judgmental of others. Remind me when I start my judging again because Pete returns, that I need to put myself in others’ shoes. Remind me to be loving and caring. Remind me to offer help to those who desperately need strength.
We all have the ability to help those around us that are struggling. You know what stops us? Our own selfish needs. We get so consumed in what we have to do that we cannot see when others need us, desperately. I would have given anything to have someone help. I was so thankful when my sister pitched in and helped me drive, and when my mom took my youngest and let her spend the night. It gave me a reprieve from some of my duties.
Don’t wait for someone to ask for help – jump in and offer it. I can tell you – it will make their day.
Helping others get through their suffering is powerful. Offering to walk in their shoes gives them hope, strength and perseverance to get through their daily struggles. Look around you. There are people all around that simple acts of kindness will offer them the hope they need to take on the day.
Just for today, look around you – who looks exhausted and worn. Who can you touch with a simple act of kindness by offering to walk in their shoes?