From the outside looking in or from the inside looking out is no matter. Either way, the story is only half known. The glass is clear, but what we see is not.
One day, a young woman was having a really bad day. She and her husband were arguing, their children were being children and all that that implies, stress was high and patience was low. Her phone rang and she answered it. Her bad day was heard in her voice and the person on the other end of the line said something, without even the least bit of sarcasm, attitude or meanness. Just the words themselves were enough the for young woman to feel offended enough to she hang up.
This young woman happened to be me and the person on the other end of the line happened to be my sister. Without one word of reprimand to my sister for her statement or accusation (whatever it is to be called), I hung up the phone in the middle of whatever came after her remark that hit just the right spot for me that day.
I haven’t ever spoken of this with my sister. It just kind of came and went like a tide, but I remember the 1 to 1.5 minute conversation before and the words that caused me to hang up. As I said, the words were not mean nor were they rude or disrespectful. In fact, the whole conversation, as short as it was, was perfectly fine. It’s those almost final words, as they rang threw my ears, that aggravated me. In the midst of my bad day, I didn’t want or need to hear the words that she said.
But that’s the glass….so clear from both sides, but each only telling part of the story. In this case, her seemingly harmless words were just enough juice to spark a flame. It wasn’t clear to her that the day hadn’t been going well for me so what seemed like a harmless remark to her was actually my last straw.
Judgment of others is always wrong, but we make them anyway. What’s more, we often, out of stinkyness or orneryness or just plain hatefulness, make rash judgments of others based on things we’ve heard and things we’ve seen first hand with a birds’ eye view. Other times we make judgments based not even on one shred of viable information, but just because.
Let’s get honest for a moment…..
Have you ever judged someone because of what you heard of said person from a friend?
Have you ever judged a boy/girlfriend of your best friend based on what your friend said about boy/girlfriend in the midst of strong emotion?
Have you ever looked at a family and came to a conclusion based on what you see in public without really considering what happens in the privacy of their home?
Have you ever been the one looking out or the one looking in with an opinion formed just from being on said side?
It’s easy to have an opinion. It’s easy to voice it out loud. It’s easy to put another down for their handling of a situation they are involved in. It’s easy to think you could do it better, say it better, handle it better……just be better in whichever situation is taking place that you are privy to. It’s easy when it’s not you that’s living the situation.
It’s not always so easy to see both sides of a coin from either side. In fact, I bet it’s pretty darn impossible to see both sides at the same time without the aid of a mirror or X-ray vision. Yet, it’s the belief of many that looking through the clear glass somehow gives us the ability to judge the bigger picture while only one side is in our direct line of sight.
In the situation with the phone call mentioned earlier, my sister didn’t know I was having a bad day. She didn’t try to deduce that fact from what she heard in my voice as I answered the phone. All she knew was that information needed to be exchanged (I can’t remember what) and that’s why she called. Upon hearing the shortness in my voice, she assumed whatever it was that she assumed to make the remark that she made. Period. The glass was clear on her side….exchange information via phone call. My glass clear on my side…..I was having a bad day. Neither one of us concerned ourselves with what was on the other side of the glass.
Lesson: The view becomes more clear once a glass is cleaned on both sides. To get a complete understanding and to form an evidence-based opinion of a situation, all facets of the situation must be known otherwise the result is a skewed interpretation.
The story untold is what lies on the other side of that otherwise clear glass which somehow beckons one to make a judgement from a minimal amount of information. As has been proven many times over, what you see is not always what you get. For instance, a woman might seem well put together to you as you walk by her house — the normalness of raising a family is visible every where you look when your sight lands on her property — but next week you read about her in the paper about how she broke such and such law and was arrested with what seems to be an excessive amount of charges, etc. etc. Or you have the gentleman down the road who is extremely poor and on the grumpy side so people steer clear of him until one day the gentleman is in need of help which is given from one of the neighborhood kids. At once, neighbors from all around see the true nature of the gentleman which turns out to be quiet, gentle soul who has always been helpful and kind.
The story untold lies just on the other side of that clear glass and it’s up to each and every one of us to put our judgments in check. The world would be a much better place.