Photo: Creative Commons.
A couple moved to a new house. On their first morning, the wife looked out the window and observed her neighbor hanging sheets out to dry.
‘Those sheets are still dirty’ she said. ‘Maybe she needs a different kind of detergent. I should go and teach her how to wash them properly.’
Every few days, she made the same comments to her husband when her neighbor hung out her laundry on the clothesline. A month went by and one morning the wife was astounded to see that her neighbor was hanging out clean sheets.
She exclaimed to her husband, ‘Look, she finally learned to wash her clothes. I wonder who taught her?’
The husband replied, ‘Actually honey, the only difference is that I got up early this morning and washed our windows.’
Or it go a little something like this…
‘Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.’ Matthew 7:1 The Message.
Things are often not as they seem.
Isn’t it so easy to judge, to make assumptions? My friend Linda recently wrote this and I think it sums it up well….Don’t make such quick judgments about people, their present and their past; you’d be amazed at the pain, and tears a single smile hides. What a person shows to the world is only one tiny facet of the iceberg hidden from sight. And more often then not, it’s lined with cracks and scars that go all the way to the foundation of their soul.
Everyone has a story within his or her story.
I posted this week on Facebook a quote from Steven Furtick of Elevation Church, NC
‘The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel‘
Why did this resonate so much? Why was it reposted so much? Because we know it’s so true! In a world where Facebook statuses, Twitter and Pinterest are declaring how wonderful life is – perfect motherhood, glamorous vacations, heavenly houses. Pinterest boards to make you curl up in a ball and cry. Speaking of balls. I was invited onto Pinterest. I was drawn into a visual maze of loveliness. I set up my own board and on it a placed a Cheeseball snowman. A fun Christmas appy.
But that’s all I have, and now I’m getting emails saying that people are following me on Pinterest and all I have is a snowman and… and….
I am not suggesting that Facebook becomes a negative wallowing of emotions or even that we shouldn’t celebrate life or create inspiring, pinteresting boards. But when internal dialogue becomes ruled by comparison and insecurity – we are judging others and ourself and that needs to change.
Let us learn to read the pages of a person’s life, not just the cover – the flash status. That’s where effort, time and community enter in. To get to know stories, to go deeper, to ask questions…
Friends say to me ‘Oh you have a wonderful life on those ski hills, hanging out at the beach all day, writing blogs, reading books…’
Highlight reels. Snapshots.
I often joke telling friends I’ll post a few pics of me ironing, doing laundry. I do normal stuff you know. Take yesterday for example….
Phil has been in the UK this week so the Collins kids took it in turn to sleepover with Mom. My day began as the phone rang at 3am. Someone there, but not speaking. Meh. Jessica sits bolt upright and tells me I need to pay the 6 bucks and get caller ID. I woke up again at 6am for the morning operation ‘get out of the door fully dressed, with backpacks and lunches and without shouting’
‘Because I will not bring anything to school later if it’s forgotten.’ (Yeah right Michelle…)
Operation successful. Onto the Hope Centre at 8.30. Our church drop in, free coffee, wifi, somewhere to hang out and keep warm. I have a friend who comes in, she enjoys me making her toast and a coffee. She carries a full clear bag of cigarette butts she has found on the ground outside, she smokes every 13 minutes. She reads a baby name book, smiles to herself and has the most beautiful blue eyes.
She has a story. She hasn’t told me her story but sometimes when she looks at me I think she’d like to. One day.
The Hope Centre gets busy with Moms coming in for diapers and formula. The Take a Break Moms come in to hang out after their meeting. I hear stories… anxiety, unemployment, loneliness, sickness, peace, hope, change.
I then enrolled on a Creative Arts degree which I am more than excited about.
Onto grocery shopping. Eww. No story there. Oh except I purchased a bag of nuts to snack on and found little surprise peanut butter cups in the mix.
Picked up the younger ones at 3, back to school at 4 to pick up older girls from basketball (complete with 3 friends) Fed the children and left the house at 5.30 to pick up Phil from the airport, on the way dropping into the YMCA to see if Bella had left her swimsuit last night after lessons.
My advice to you is this… Do not ever lose anything at the Y. Why? Because it all gets thrown into a bin which smells like cheese, I held my breath, dived in and found it. Double Eww!
Picked up Phil, dropped girls at Juice, went home and asked Phil a gazillion questions and caught up on more stories – all things family, friends and Stourbridge. I felt like I’d been there.
Picked up the girls at 9. At which point I realised I hadn’t taken a pic for my 365 Project. Jessica was very animated and excited after Juice waving her new glow stick wildly. This was the result…
So there you have it, for those who wonder what I do.
We all live a life surrounded by stories.
Often I hear them, sometimes I don’t – even when they’re told.
I’m sorry for those I don’t, the ones I miss…
…and if I ever my highlight reel bugs you just go to my Pinterest board.
There’s a lone snowman.
Have a great weekend friends. I’m off to clean my windows.
‘Do to others as you would have them do to you‘ Luke 6:31