This morning, I woke up to find the day thick with fog; fog so dense, you could slice it with a knife.
Nevertheless, Roxy and I geared up and headed out.
A fourth of a mile into our trajectory, a mother and her child crossed our path.
The child was screaming and lashing out with feet and fists.
The mother attempted to rationalize with the child and grabbed her hand.
The little girl responded by delivering a hard kick to her mother’s shin.
At this point, I braced myself for the worse.
I thought, any second now, Roxy and I are going to be eyewitnesses to the mother of all spankings.
However, this didn’t happen.
The mother, hair disheveled, coat stained, and lips pursed, walked away while the little girl followed slowly.
A minute later, the mother turned back, grabbed the little girl’s hand, and they continued on their way.
I watched the scene curiously, wondering why consequences hadn’t ensued.
Was the little girl a problem child?
Was the mother too tired to care?
Were they both just having a really bad day?
I smiled as I thought how differently I would have reacted to this scene 18 years ago, when my own children were young.
At that time, I would have deemed the mother weak; incapable of controlling her child.
I would’ve wondered who the hell was in charge and prompted the mother to take control of the situation.
Yet now, almost two decades later, my reaction was completely different.
After surveying the scene, something told me this mother was at the end of her rope and didn’t need me to judge her.
As Roxy and I continued our walk, I remembered a letter I received this morning from a young lady whom I love very much.
The letter contained a detailed account of the difficulties she was experiencing.
Her refusal to accept things the way they were, her disappointment at not finding solutions to life’s problems, her trepidation of a future that seemed bleak.
Her words saddened me, yet upon reaching the last paragraph, I read the following sentence:
“I feel that when I write to you, it’s like I’m writing in a journal. No criticism. No negativity. No judgement. Just fairy dust. I love you.”
One foot in front of the other, Roxy and I continued to valiantly cut through the mist.
Like the mist, my heart was heavy.
Heavy at the thought that many times we don’t consider people’s circumstances before deciding it’s acceptable to judge them.
We assume the role of judge, jury and executioner, without really knowing the why of their situation.
We think we know why things are happening.
We don’t take the time to listen with our hearts; to give the benefit of the doubt.
As I recalled the young lady’s letter, I thought of the little girl who had lashed out at her mother.
How different and yet how similar they both were.
Angry, frustrated, and rebellious.
Yet underneath, both fearful at the thought of being left behind; of being left alone.
I felt relieved that with the passing of time, I had outgrown the need to judge and condemn.
And that now, my not so little girl considered me a sprinkler of fairy dust.
Making my way home, I noticed the mist was far from lifting.
Yet I knew that eventually, it would disperse and we’d have a clear view.