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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Wrecking Ball of Criticism

Since Mom’s death I’ve been very sensitive… Too sensitive. A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting in the beauty shop waiting for my appointment when I overheard a conversation that was basically just chitchat. A woman was telling a story about a stranger she had encountered in the mall. She had no interaction with the stranger, but based on the strangers appearance she surmised the stranger was a drug addict, possibly mentally ill and in general a drain on society’s resources. Wow!!! That’s a lot of conclusions to draw from a stranger’s appearance and body language. When I got home, I replayed the conversation over and over and finally realized I was angry about hearing the exchange, and brokenhearted for the stranger. Why? Why did hearing that exchange bring me to the brink of tears hours later? It bothered me because no one deserves to be judged (period), but especially out of context of their life experiences. Humans are not one dimensional; every person is a multifaceted sum of their life experiences. It is impossible to look at a person and instantly come to a conclusion as to why they are the way they are without knowing the life experiences that shaped them. Likewise, our life experiences shape the lens from which we view life and other people. I look at things much differently now than I did when I was 20. When I thought about it, I concluded I was troubled because this type of conversation happens all the time and I don’t think anything about it. Chances are if I wasn’t in somewhat of a fragile emotional state due to Mom’s death, I may not have thought a thing about it this time. But at the moment, my heart is still very tender and my emotions raw.  It’s not like I’m sitting on a high horse and can say I’ve never passed judgment on a complete stranger before. But due to my emotional state, this time I really looked at what happened and scolded myself because I realized that usually I’m calloused to such things. We should never become calloused (the Bible calls it having a hardened heart) about passing judgment, jumping to conclusions or just listening to critical conversation. Hearing someone ripped to shreds, should always prick our souls and break our hearts. ALWAYS! Since the incident in the beauty shop, I have really tried to monitor my own conversations. My prayer is… “God put a guard at my tongue and let my words be sweet.” Having done a lot of work on our old house, I know all too well that tearing down, the demolition part of a project is the easiest part, but putting things back together takes a lot of work and concentrated effort. On many levels, people are fragile beings. Just like the hardwood floors in my house, people carry emotional scars from childhood to grave; those scars tell a story, they are the tapestry of life. Criticism is a wrecking ball to the human spirit.  So, I’m checking myself, minding my words and praying God will keep my heart softened so it doesn't become hard. I'm a work in progress...... 

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