In Eugene we have this beautiful Butte called Spencers. Being the savvy, motivated family that we were, we decided to trek our kids up the mountain. After prepping food and water, driving to the base of the butte, and strapping Ollie onto my back, we were finally on our way!
Our oldest was running circles around us at 5 years old as I carried Ollie up. He was only 45 pounds at that time and almost 4 years old.
We were feeling pretty good as we kept up with Tay and had encountered many people on their way down, adoring our littles. The third party that came down smiled sweetly and encouraged us…”Let the little guy get down and walk!”
My heart faltered for a moment and I felt a rush of emotions overwhelm my head. What had begun as a positive, empowering hike had quickly spiraled.
Ollie can’t walk. I don’t know if he ever will. I don’t know if I’ll always be able to carry him up a mountain, or if this summer will be my last. I do know that we’re trying our very best to experience “normal family” things…
And this stranger had just (unknowingly) judged my parenting decision to carry my handicapped child.
Enter silent scream and flailing tantrum here. “It’s just not fair!,” I silently scream in my head. He doesn’t know that Ollie can’t walk. He’s just trying to help the little chap. He doesn’t know that I’m doing the VERY BEST that I know how. And he’s judging me!!!! And yet…
He just doesn’t know.
But isn’t that just life? I’ve been judging up the whazoo this week. I’ve got plenty of ideas for how everyone around me could have a better life. I’m pretty certain if anyone would listen to me, they would be happier and their children, more well adjusted.
But let’s back up a bit. Why?….Why the judgements? Why the scrutiny? Why the bitterness? Why?….
Uncover it all and there’s judgement towards myself. I’m the one afraid that I’m not parenting correctly. I’m the one afraid I’m not living my life perfectly, the most healthfully. I’m afraid and tired.
And in that place, I judge. There’s a verse in the bible that says “Judge not, lest you be judged. For with that judgement you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”
Some people believe this verse is a matter of fairness. If you judge, you better believe you’ve got judgement coming back to ya, maybe even three fold!
But I don’t actually believe that. I think that this verse was said for our protection. Because whatever level of judgment we freely hand out to strangers, friends, enemies, we will be faithful to hold ourselves to that standard as well.
My judgements lately have had nothing to do with the people I’m judging, rather the insecurites I’ve been holding within myself.
How can they let their kids do that?!
Judgement translator: Will my kids be ok with the choices I make for them? Am I too strict? Too slack?
Don’t they know they should invest in their marriage?
Translated: Will my marriage last through the hardships life so faithfully serves us?
How much more does she want from me?!
Translated: Will my friends leave me if I become difficult?
I wouldn’t want that kind of friend…
Translated: Will anyone love me in my ugly places?
The man encouraging us to let Ollie walk could have been well meaning. Or he could have felt high and mighty that his kid was walking the trail. But if that were the case, I’d venture to say that he may be hard on himself at times. Any judgement towards me, is a mirror image of how he judges himself.
Moral of the story? Don’t judge others! And when you do, investigate yourself and find the areas in which you need a little more grace and kindness in your life.