Let Us Not Be Those Who Judge

A good stout after hearing difficult news.

Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Proverb.

My husband and I were sitting in a local brewery today. It was odd for us. Middle of the day. Middle of the week. No real reason to be there except to escape sad news. While we were there I witnessed two women in their mid thirties and a preschool child enter, sit down, order beers and popcorn. The boy took out an electronic device, took off his coat and hat, and proceeded to stare at the screen as his mom and friend ate popcorn, drank beer, and talk.

At first glance it was easy to judge. No popcorn for the kid? Talking like he wasn’t there? After a few more sips of my preferred beverage that others could have judged me for, my mind began to thankfully shift. I began to reflect on what a judgmental fart I was. I looked inwards and at the women a little closer. The woman, whom I assumed to be the mom because of how the child rested his head on her arm, was carefully working to hide her distress. It was this realization that caused me to judge myself instead of her. She obviously was in a bad space. Her child was safe and well cared for. She needed her friend. Who was I to sit and judge? Please if there is someone out there above all of us, help me and anyone else who struggles with this flaw. And help us get over it, soon. Why does judgement so often come before empathy?

Today was MLK day. The many posts on social media left me feeling rather empty. Many were as judgmental as the thoughts I had about this woman I didn’t even know. Why do we automatically go there? Today was also the day after finding out news about the murder of a beautiful young woman. She was someone who dedicated her life to help those who desperately needed the help of others. Hence the need for a slice of NY pie (pizza) and a dark, midday beer. The women she helped were asylum seekers trapped in a Mexican city on our southern border because of our administration’s inhumane policies. We know that those who are sent back to these cities have a very high chance of experiencing intense violence. Yet we send them back there anyway. Who on Earth are we?

As I sipped my beer and peered out over the frozen river I found myself trying to untangle the mess we are in. And I found myself reflecting on judgement. Recently an “acting” director (I guess they can’t hold on to anyone) of ICE recently published an inflammatory column in our local newspaper. His judgement of those here as migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, immigrants took my breath away. He was vicious and his rhetoric was extremely dangerous. Many around the country write hateful things about those seeking a safe life for themselves and their families in this country. They judge them mostly by the color of their skin. Let’s not pretend this judgement is not seeped in deep seated racism. It is. And that racism is seeped in deep seated fear that has been fueled for generations and newly fanned by our sitting president and people like this “acting” director of ICE.

May we all work to notice when we judge others. May we work to see that everyone has a story and for many, that story isn’t easy or pretty. May we work to aid rather than judge. And may we work to uncover and discredit judgements that harm others. Recent Letter to the Editor responding then acting ICE director’s comments in our local paper.

On this MLK day may we denounce judgement and work to help those less fortunate. There is so much hate and division today that it will take the active and conscientious efforts of every single one of us to break through them. May we all find time to work for that.

For Isabel,

Love and kindness,

Mary

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