Hannah Grace is off having a spend the night party with a church group. After supper, I suggested to Laura and Joel that we go get a treat. Off to McDonald's for an ice cream sundae we go.
On the way there, it hit me that I had not done a "first" today. Wow, at 7:30 on a Friday night "firsts" opportunities are not abounding around here. As we were driving to town, I suggested that we might do a Chinese fire drill. If you don't know what that is, it is where a group of people (typically teenagers) are riding in a car. When you come to a red light and stop, everyone jumps out of the car and runs around switching positions in the car. It is silly and has no real purpose other than to laugh. When I suggested this, Laura was all for it and Joel wanted to know why people did that. We explained that it was just to be silly. Then he wanted to know why and how it was invented. I don't know.
When we got to the red light just before McDonald's, it turned red just before we got there. The fact that I saw it was green and slowed down to 20 miles per hour helped. You might think that this was aggravating to the people driving behind me. There was no one behind me for about as far as I could see. I live in pretty small town. When we got to the red light, we all jumped out and ran to a different place. We made sure Joel knew he was going to the front seat passenger side; not driver's side. He requested the driver's side. I went to the back seat and Laura got the driver's place. Of course, we were all laughing when we got back in.
Joel asked us if we ran when we did the fire drill. We both said yes. He said he walked and tried to act normal. When we got out at McDonald's, he said he was embarrassed to go inside. We assured him there was nobody in McDonald's that could have seen us. It added an element of fun to our night out for a treat.
Things look different when you look at them from a different perspective. It's been a while since I rode in the back seat. Life is just different depending on how you see it. It is sure easy to criticize someone else that is not doing so well. When I see someone struggling, it is very easy to think about what they should do. If I was in their place, I might find it as hard to do better as they do. Knowing what the right thing to do is different from doing it. Sometimes doing it can be very hard. This is not an excuse for living poorly, but it is a reminder that we truly don't understand what another person is going through. You've heard the expression "Don't criticize someone until you walk a mile in their shoes." The comedian said the reason why is that you'll be a mile away and they can't hear you plus you'll have their shoes.
Well, that's not the big idea behind that. I do need reminding occasionally that some people are going through some massive struggles. I can't imagine how hard being a single parent must be. The idea of losing a spouse to an early death is something I really do not want to have to cope with. Neither is being unemployed, having a desperately sick child, trying to cope with mental illness, among other things something I want to try to do in life. There are some people who are coping with really hard situations. They need compassion more than criticism. They need understanding more than a pointed finger. At times, they need acceptance more than "you should." Of course, we all need to help each other in our struggles to draw close to God and become more Christlike, but let's not forget to be understanding of what someone may be going through. The first step may be admitting that we don't know what they are going through. We were not raised the same, we don't have the personality, relationships, or chemical makeup. I want to try to show others the kind of grace I've received from God. It is amazing.
And remember, the next time you see a family jump out of a car and run around, they may just be having fun.
Glad for the abundant life
3 things I thank God for today
3. God is not confused