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….
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.