When my Grandfather used to speak to us, as children, he would come into the middle of us; pull up a log, bucket…whatever was close by and just start talking. In the metaphoric sense…that is what I am doing today.
We live in a world of have and have not; but we make it that way. We will look at a person and establish that we know all there is to know. We may think that we don’t do this; but how many times do we look at a person’s shoes, clothes, hairstyle, or vehicle…and comment? We have been given the impression that it is okay that we do this; even if that permission has been given…just by not objecting. Once a person has not stepped up to the plate and said…NO; they have given us the OK to continue on.
I often wonder, if we took one second to switch places with that person; would we still speak out of haste? If we were the homeless man standing on the street corner, with a sign; would we be concerned about how he spends his money? How judgmental to determine…who REALLY is in need. Why are we not seeing that the intention is all that matters? Should it matter where the money goes, that we give, if our intention is to help another person? Just like our intention matters; so does theirs. We are not to judge, who should have what. Let us not take out of consideration; it is now 30 or 40 degrees in the warm spots and this person is standing on a street corner…with a sign. He/she is not only asking for a lift up…but for our own humanity. How dare we surmise that the shape of the shoes he/she has on; determines how great the need is?
Going back to my Grandfather; he would tell us, “It is not for us to question or judge another”. And he would silently walk away. We would all be so confused, as to where the statement came from; that we would follow him. One day he walked for miles; we steadily walked behind. He didn’t acknowledge us; nor did he slow down. We needed to know what he was talking about; had we done something wrong? Was he angry with something we had done? Why had he said that? “It is not for us to question or judge another”, such a far reaching statement; but why did he choose to say it to us?
Finally we all ended up back at our home; and until this point…he never uttered another word. He sat down on the steps of our house; we all gathered around him, as if he was about to give out candy. He looked at us seriously, which he always did; but this time he seemed to be searching for something inside of us.
He slowly started talking; silence was all around us. Why did you follow me on such a long and tedious journey? I wasn’t going to the store, didn’t speak to you, and didn’t seem to be in a hurry to get where I was going. Still, here you all are; quietly listening to my every word. I couldn’t speak; for I was certain that if I had, he would stop talking. It was colder outside, although the snow hadn’t begun falling yet; we could see our breath hanging in the air.
He reached out to each and every one of us and touched our shoulders; he softly touched the tip of my cold nose. “I love you”, he quietly said, “but there are things you must learn about yourselves”. He went on and talked for a long time; we never got tired or too cold to listen to his points.
My Grandfather, on that day, gave us true wisdom; if only so I can share it with you today. He said we followed him, because we needed to know more. We didn’t deviate from his path; we didn’t make an assumption about where he was going. We weren’t so self-consumed; that we weren’t curious about what he was saying to us.
He told us; we must often place ourselves in someone else’s shoes; in order to fully appreciate what and who they are. He said you all followed me; even though it was cold and the trip was long; you still walked with me.
There is always more than what we see; once we start judging people, we have fallen off course. When we judge people; we are not judging from a divine place; we are judging based on OUR STANDARDS. Often our standards are tainted; by greed, envy, or some superficial nature we have obtained.
We followed him; we walked his path, and when he got to the end of his journey; we realized what he had told us hours before. Do not judge; unless you understand…mentally…physically…spiritually the journey of another.
We could have concluded that his words were the ramblings of an old man; but we were patient. This man; who had the largest heart and most brilliant mind, I had even known…taught us a lesson in humility.
The next time you see that homeless person on the street…please do not look at their wardrobe; but in their eyes. Become one with their soul; realize that they, too, have a journey…which we can learn from.
Become intent on experiencing the very human journey; judge not lest you be judged. Please remember the Source which will judge you; may be much harsher than any judgment you place on another.
Love like it is your last moment on this earth; for this moment…comes only once in a lifetime.