There was a dirty white car in front of me at the freeway exit stop light. You could tell it was a new vehicle by the license plate and the body styling but why so dirty? Why didn’t this driver take a little more pride of ownership by at least giving it a wash and wax? But who am I to judge.
I heard a well known author tell of an situation he observed while riding on a crowded subway. Amidst the normal hustle and bustle of his ride, as a fellow passenger, he could not help but notice a small drama taking place. The scene involved an unaware father and his unruly children who were acting out, running around and not remaining in their seats. When an irritated fellow passenger could no longer take the children’s rowdiness he approached the father and angrily told him to get his kids under control.
The beleaguered dad responded with a genuine and sorrowful apology . . . then relayed brokenly that they were on their way home from the hospital. His wife had just passed away. He was worlds away in grief and sorrowful thought and yet sincerely expressed how sorry he was that his children were disturbing the others in the subway car.
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Things aren’t always as they seem with our first assessment. The white car in front of me? As the light turned green and we drove onward, out of the shadows, his immaculately clean white car sparkled in the morning sunlight like a brilliant diamond. It wasn’t the “negligent” driver but my perception that was off. You couldn’t blame me, just like you couldn’t blame the irritated passenger. In the light of the situation my perception told me that his new car was dirty. There in the shadows my judgmental mind was quick to assess, judge and question the driver. Better to take a pause after assessing a situation just In case there’s more to the story. Because you just never know.