Easter weekend my grandchildren came to visit. It was a glorious spring weekend, trees sprouting tender greens, redbuds in pink and tulips of every color imaginable from palest yellow to deep purple. We picnicked on the hillside in dappled shade and for a moment all seemed at peace with the world. The Cheekwood Botanic Gardens were in bloom! I embraced it all! YIPPEE!
The next day, we went to the Nashville Zoo. In addition to cougars, elephants, kangaroos and the like, there is a magical play area called the Jungle Gym. Africa themed huts, rope ladders, slides, tunnels and more kept my three grands entertained for over an hour. I sat close to the entrance, watching the comings and goings of all manner of people from every race, ethnic group, size, and style.
I don’t like to think of myself as a judgmental person – discerning perhaps, surely I had left all that judgment stuff back in my past. Right? Wrong.
I realized, in reflecting back on the weekend, that I judged the good sense of parents of the overweight children or of the 5–year old whose parents had dressed him in a T-shirt that read Stud Muffin. I judged the man who was smoking while wheeling his baby, even though there were lots of signs that said: NO Smoking. As well as the woman showing more cleavage and wearing more rhinestones than the opening act of a rock concert. And more that I’m sure I can’t recall. Was it harsh? No, but it was there.
What strikes me is how natural and insidious judgement is. I can rationalize and say, At least I didn’t say anything.
But what I realize is that judgement is a way to isolate and separate ourselves from others. The more we judge the less compassionate we become. The less compassionate we are, the less committed we become to helping all people have opportunities for themselves and their families. The more YIPPEE others have the more is available for you and me.
I didn’t judge which tulips were prettier, which daffodils deserved my admiration, I just said, Isn’t this variety amazing.
For the next week, I’m going to challenge myself to not judge but to simply say, Hmm isn’t this interesting? or Beautiful or Different or Whatever.
Will you accept the challenge?
Until next Tuesday. YIPPEE!