Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Snap Shots

Takin Time on Tuesdays with Joni

If you don't know, I manage storage units. Our apartment is above the office and for 3 1/2 hours a day, my children and I work in the office. It is a really nice situation because I can help the family financially but I get to have my children with me. Most days are pretty typical: taking payments, signing people up, etc. Other days are quite eventful. This last week I had the pleasure of being yelled at by a very mean person. He is always late on his rent yet he blames us for not waiving his late fee each month. This month, he called and was really rude to me. After he hung up on me, he called back many times. I didn't pick up because I didn't want to hear him yelling at me. He left a very unkind voice message. Instead of criticizing our company's policy, he criticized me. He said I have no compassion and I am trying to make this world a worse place. After I heard that message, I was quite hurt. How does he know if I have compassion. How does he know how I am contributing to the world. He thinks that speaking to me for 3 minutes every month, where he is mostly yelling, makes him an expert on who I am? Does he know that I spend all of my time loving my two sweet children? Does he know I am working hard on raising them to be kind and honest people? Does he know that I try to have a nice dinner every night for my hard working husband? Does he know I serve in my church? Does he know that I pray each day for patience and try to speak kindly? Does he know that I am just a very large pregnant woman who is trying to help my family make ends meet? Does he have a clue what hardships I have been through and how they help me to show compassion to others? Does he know anything about me? He knows that I don't want to lose my job, so I follow company policy. Because of that, he thinks he has me figured out. Well, he is wrong.

This has made me think about how we all are probably guilty of making judgments about people even though we have only seen snapshots of their life. We think we have someone figured out by the clothes they wear, the attitude they are showing at that moment, or how clean their house is. In most cases, our judgments are probably incorrect. I once moved into a new area and there was a girl who went to my church. Her and her husband sat on the front row in a loving embrace the entire service. In class, she raised her hand and commented all through out the lesson. She could have had a label of "Mrs. Perfect" and I couldn't stand her. Then I was assigned to visit her each month. I was so upset that someone I couldn't stand was someone I had to become friends with. So I did my duty and went to her house. After a few months, I started to see a different side of her. Her marriage was on the verge of breaking up. At times, she had kicked her husband out. Her son, from complications of a home birth, didn't have enough oxygen at birth and would be mentally slow for the rest of his life. She was going back to school so she could have a career if she needed. Her life was pretty hard. She actually became one of my closest friends while we lived there. I was so grateful that my first impressions were so wrong. I got to know the wonderful person she really was and to love her for it. My snap shots into her life were not even close to reality. How wrong I was to judge.

At my family reunion this last month I heard a quote and I am not even sure who said it. But someone said that their motto is to think that everyone is doing the best they can with what they have. If we gave each-other the benefit of the doubt, there would be more love and kindness in the world. So I say to that man who so wrongly accused me of no compassion and for making the world a worse place, "You have no idea who I am, what I am dealing with, and how hard I am trying, and I have no idea what you are dealing with. Life must be pretty hard for you to yell at me over $12 each month. So I will not judge you for the snap shot I see of you each month, cause it ain't a pretty picture!" I hope that I will learn from this lesson and be a kinder, nicer, loving person. Because I do want to make the world a better place, even if that is just my small world.

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