I have seen a quote that said, "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about." It may be a bit of a generalization, but there is more truth to it sometimes than we would like to admit. I saw a powerful example of this recently and I haven't been able to get it off my mind.
I have a sweet friend who I am quite close to who called me a couple of weeks ago to ask me to pray with her. She was on her way to her OBGYN because she was pretty sure she was miscarrying her baby. I prayed with her and found out when and where her appt was and asked her to call me as soon as she was done. We hung up and I sprung into action. You see, my friend's husband was out of town on business and she was going to the Dr by herself. I imagined how difficult it would be to probably find out she was, in fact, losing her baby with no one there for moral support. I couldn't let that happen so I headed out to meet her. Fortunately I made it to the Dr and walked in just as she was being called back. As she said later, the timing was so perfect it almost felt like a movie.
At some point during our time together in the office I asked her if today was a day she was supposed to work. She said it had been and she had had to reschedule her clients. My friend is a hair dresser and, as women, we know how important those hair appts can be. She said unfortunately she had a couple of more difficult clients who were scheduled that day and one of them had not received it very well when she found out her salon color wasn't going to happen. Her response was, "Well that's great! I guess I'll just have to go buy boxed color!!"
Now I realize this woman had no clue why my friend had to cancel, but...she had no clue why she had to cancel!!! Do you see what I am saying? In the absence of information, she chose to see that her hair stylist was bailing on her...period. Did it ever occur to her that this stylist doesn't normally cancel her appts? Did it ever occur to her that she may have a really good reason for canceling? Like losing a baby!!!
I admit it...I was fighting mad when she told me. The Mama bear in me wanted to call this lady and ask her if she ever considered anyone but herself before she made stupid comments. I wanted to ask her to spend that time she was coloring her own hair to pray for her stylist who was wrestling thru the emotions of surrendering a child she never even had the privilege of meeting. I wanted to tell her how selfish I felt she was for jumping to conclusions? Of course my friend was wise enough to know there was no way she could (or should) relinquish the client's number to this psycho pastor's wife and so I was left to just imagine how that conversation might have gone.
As I said as I begin this post, I have thought about this a lot since it happened. I acknowledge I may have taken up an offense that wasn't mine to carry and my friend probably hasn't thought about it nearly as much as I have. I am struck, though, by how inwardly focused we can be and how careless that can cause us to be with other people's hearts. I wonder if this client would feel bad if she knew the "why" behind the cancellation. I wonder if she would wish for those words back if she could see how ridiculous her sacrifice of a box of hair color was in relation to a baby's life.
Most of all I wonder if I have ever treated someone as carelessly as this client because I was so consumed with my own little world filled with my own selfish desires.
Lord, please help me to see others thru your eyes. Help me to pause before I speak. Help me to take my eyes off myself and realize others are dealing with real struggles and real heartaches just the way I do myself sometimes. Help me to employ Philippians 2 when I find my selfish desires beginning to override grace and compassion. Lord, help me realize there's always one more thing that I could know about someone that might totally change the way I think about them and respond to them.