I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase a million times: “Don’t judge a person until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.” There are plenty of Bible verses that warn against judging, that remind you to remove the plank from your own eye. We know these things. I know these things. Theoretically.
Last night, we went to Chick-Fil-A to have a milkshake, feed Lilly, and let Vi play for a little while. While we were sitting there, two men came in with a girl who looked about Viola’s age. The younger man took the little girl into the play area, while the older man sat just outside at one of the tables.
The younger man [who I (correctly) assumed was Dad] had his phone out pretty much from the moment he sat down. The older man [grandpa – I assumed and was confirmed], fairly promptly fell asleep at his table.
As I sat there feeding Lil and watching Vi and Caleb play, I have to admit I was judging them a little. Thinking how typical it was and how sad it was that they were too busy to pay attention to the little girl. Not that I thought they were bad guys, just uninvolved.
And then I went in to tell Vi and Caleb that it was time to go.
The guy sparked a conversation with me asking how old Lilly was and how far apart our girls are. And then, face beaming, eyes red and puffy, hair disheveled, and a smile that took up his whole face he said, “My wife just had a baby today. A boy.”
In that moment, I walked a mile in his shoes. I understood the look on his face. The constant phone calls and text messages made sense. And I realized he wasn’t inattentive. Exhausted. Blissed out. Maybe a little scared of what’s to come. Overflowing with love. Who knows what he was feeling in those moments. The point is, I shouldn’t have been making assumptions about him. I had no idea what was going on in his life.
So, the next time I see someone and I’m tempted to make assumptions about who they are or what they’re doing, I pray that God will remind me of the man at Chick-Fil-A with the newborn baby boy.
See that look? Right there, the one on Caleb’s face. Yea, that’s the look this dad had.