Sometimes I think life is just one big misunderstanding

Yesteday, we attended a child’s birthday party at a local public pool. There was a boy at the pool, (not part of the party), a teen, who flapped his hands, walked on his toes, and squealed a lot. In the water, he was happy.

Also in the pool, were two men, maybe in their late sixties. They were walking in the water, having a conversation. Getting their exercise while they got their chat on.

At one point, the boy, in his joy, dove into the water, right between them, making a big splash.

One of the men got in the boy’s face and shouted, as he wiped his glasses, “WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH YOU? WHY WOULD YOU JUMP RIGHT IN BETWEEN US LIKE THAT?”

The boy looked at him, clearly confused, cowering slightly, then went on his way, swimming away from them like a fish.

I wanted to yell at the man, “What’s wrong with you? Can’t you see he has autism?” But the moment was over, and I wasn’t 100% sure, and anyway….

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Today I was at Whole Foods. I had a small cart full. At the checkout an employee came over and said, “I know you’re over the limit, but I’ll take you in the express line. We’re a little short staffed today so I want to help out the other cashier.”

As she scanned my pile of items, a mother/teen daughter duo approached from behind. They were obviously in a hurry. Both proceeded to glare at me and sigh, my haul clearly over the limit.

I decided rather than reacting or apologizing or explaining, to merely allow myself to be misunderstood. Sometimes it just isn’t worth the energy.

There is a lesson in A Course in Miracles which says, “I do not know what I’m looking at, so I must not judge what I see.”

These are two examples from the last 24 hours in my life which brought that message home for me. I hope to remember them, the next time I am quick to judge.

9 thoughts on “Sometimes I think life is just one big misunderstanding

  1. Oh, amen. That’s is why I am practicing “love for no reason at all.” Sometimes I remember…sometimes I don’t. That’s why it is practice.

  2. Deep breaths. I was so struck by the phrase “let myself be misunderstood.” That requires deep breaths for me. And a lot of letting go.

    You are my hero.

  3. Lord, I experience this A LOT. I remember one of those little box of cards too that I had years ago from Course in Miracles. “Today, I will judge nothing that occurs.” Also, “I don’t know what anything is for.”

    I find myself doing a lot of observing, witnessing, and yes taking deep breaths, too. ou don’t really owe anyone any explanations and certainly not apologies.

  4. I recently read something in the book, THIS ISN’T THE STORY YOU THINK IT IS, about allowing yourself to be misunderstood for the greater good (of course I cannot for the life of me remember the exact quote). ANYWAY, good stuff.

  5. It’s so easy to be judgmental, so easy to think we do know–better than most–what we are looking at, and so easy, also, to want to explain ourselves away. Thank you for reminding us of these temptings responses to life around us. Thank you for the quote: “I do not know what I’m looking at, so I must not judge what I see.” I have copied it as Jamie has and posted it on my refrigerator. Peace.

  6. “I decided rather than reacting or apologizing or explaining, to merely allow myself to be misunderstood. Sometimes it just isn’t worth the energy.”–

    OH HELLO. “Allow myself to be misunderstood.” HOLY shit that hits me right in the gut. This was meant for me… Thanks.

    This also reminds me of the story of the zen monk that Ekart Tolle and also Tara Brach has told. The one where he was accused of fathering a child with a young girl, and everyone judged him and hated him, and instead of reacting he would just say, “Is that so? Is that so?” And he took care of the child anyway, and let himself be misunderstood.

    πŸ™‚