Missing Information

 

This incident led me to see people in a new way.

This incident led me to see people in a new way.

The car in front of me slowly came to a complete stop, not at a traffic light, but in the middle of an empty road. Being in a hurry, my thoughts spun into a critical and cranky mode. I impatiently grumbled—Lady, why did you stop in the middle of the road? What are you doing? Then almost immediately a child emerged from the other side of the car. A moment before, the child was completely hidden from my view. Wow—that one little piece of information changed my entire perception! And of course, my criticism of the stopped car switched to respect and relief. I’ve been thinking how this incident relates to loving those who are hard to love. I fall short, but I’m striving to be an advocate rather than a critic. If I observe unbecoming behaviors in others, instead of jumping to rash judgment, I can remind myself that there are important pieces of information hidden from my view. If I had that information, my perception would slide from criticism to compassion. My mother used to tell me, “There are only two kinds of people—those you love and those you don’t know.” She explained that if I made the effort to really get to know people—to learn their stories, their heartaches and hopes, to see into their hearts—I would love them. Missing information can illuminate a softer perspective.

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