I like to think of myself as “discerning”. I feel like I can size up a person or situation fairly accurately. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that a lady who’s feeding her kids carrot sticks and kale chips is pretty much batting her motherhood out of the park. It’s pretty clear that the man who wears a fitted suit, carries a brief case, and orders a cold brew at Starbucks, is contributing nicely to society.
Party of Ten is a new, guest post series, by a mom deep in the throes of mothering. A wife and mom to eight children, Jamie writes from a tender heart, the experiences, the dilemmas, the struggles and the joys of large family living. She is real, transparent and intertwines the journey with encouragement, devotion and sincerity.
As for the parent whose kid is acting like a beast in the store or the lady who shops in her fuzzy heart pajama pants, well that’s another story…or is it? Those scenarios all have one thing in common. We know very little about any of them.
We have all been judged.
It hurts. It makes us feel shame. It leaves us feeling embarrassed, angry, hurt, confused, sad, lonely.
We have all judged.
It feels so much better to be the judger. “We are very good lawyers for our own mistakes, but very good judges for the mistakes of others”. We tend to judge effortlessly. We think we’ve figured the person out, down to every last detail. We allow our opinion of them to fuel our perceived destain toward them.
Nothing tests your humility like being a parent. You want to be the best parent you can be. You want to love the best, protect the best, and give the best to your kids. It’s very easy to gauge your success by looking around at others. The problem with that is we will always feel better or worse than someone else.
We each live unique lives. Our upbringings, our life’s circumstances, our children…all are different. We lean to our own convictions, our own comforts and our own wisdom. We fall to our own weaknesses, our own pre-conceived notions, and our own sin.
Earlier this year I wrote a Facebook post about someone offering up her opinion about the size of my grocery order, without knowing that I was hurting and healing from a really hard week.
I found it to share…
”I was in the deli aisle at the grocery, listening to a message from the school nurse saying that my kid thinks he dislocated his shoulder while jumping rope for heart. Don’t be alarmed, it’s actually funny.
This is a kid who thinks strenuous activity breaks his body, but he’s fine.
Anyway, I was interrupted by a lady pointing out to someone else (in a very judgy way) that my cart had SO MANY groceries. My face got red from embarrassment and I wanted to say something snarky, like I was planning on going home and eating it all myself.
I ended up talking about my big family and hearing the oohs and ahhs and gasps.
But I wanted to cry.
I wanted to say that this cart was full of food because we just got over the stomach flu last week, I have 50 loads of laundry backed up, and I couldn’t even find bread crumb morsels in the cabinets to feed my family because I was in the hospital through 2 days with my daughter.
I wanted to say that I was proud that I at least had actually showered and clipped my fingernails and toenails just prior to Chloe’s injury.”
I was tired and anxious. I was trying to get back to normal life and she could have encouraged me.
Instead, she added to the weight of it all.
The very personal, very difficult, very sacred, very rewarding, and very individual way we live our lives and parent our children is what makes the world colorful and diverse and beautiful.
We are also apt to have many failures because of our humanity. We’re all capable of being real jerks. We hurt our loved ones. We choose wrong paths. We act out of ignorance.
Most of the time though, we realize when we’re failing and we could really use a friend who sees our self-made mud pile and chooses to jump in and pull us out while wiping the muddy tears from our face.
God gave us a very clear command. Do not judge. I think it’s because He knew how easy it is to do it and how much it tears down.
We are all journeying through life. We seem to save our compassion and mercy for the people we can relate to….the ones who we can understand why they do what they do. What about the people we don’t relate to? The ones who seem like “lesser thans” to us?
“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.” (quote by Pema Chödrön)
We can expect our world to be kinder, when we can treat each other with less judgement and more mercy.
Don’t miss other posts in this series:
How Can You Afford All of Them?
The GIFT of a Special Needs Child
Courage, dear Heart
Feeling Like a Fraud?
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Mary Hastings says
Thanks for sharing this Lorraine.
Ann Thompson says
Yes, I’m guilty of judging people and I am also well aware of how often I’m judged by others. This is all a good reminder