The Scope of the Situation

Thu. July 3, 2008 12:00 AM
by Bill Pritchard

Everyone once in a while I see this guy on my bus that's enjoying himself a nice bottle of blue scope. Usually you can smell his minty freshness before you see him. Today I saw him before seeing his half drunken bottle.

Not recognizing him by his trademark walker that takes a seat of its own, or his winter parka in the 75 degree day, I passed him by on my way to the back of the bus. As I sat there looking out the window, I couldn't help but notice the grunts and moans coming from him. He was rocking back and fourth almost as if he were propelling the bus by his movements. People were gawking and pointing; wondering what this man was up to. Then out of nowhere came the half bottle of Scope.

Just as soon as it came in eyes view it seemed to alleviate everyone's worry. Almost as if I could hear their thoughts; "Oh, he's one of those drunks!" Then I realized that those weren't the thoughts of others but rather my own. What a judgmental fool I was. As if I knew this man's whole story! Clearly I didn't.

My ass umption of his story proves a major weakness in me. I have no idea how he came to need a walker or why he was wearing a heavy coat. Who knows his story better than the man himself?! It's not my right to judge. Quite honestly, I'm ashamed of my attitude. Many are the time where I lament to my friends my discouragement about being judged by those who don't know me and here I go doing it myself. Why is it that we do that?

I've always heard it said that people put others down to avoid the faults in their own lives. I've also always found this hard to believe. Sure I've got faults, but was I really avoiding those by judging the Scope Guy on the bus; subconsciously perhaps. Could it be that it just feels plain good to divert my attention from my own thoughts and worries to think for one moment that I'm better than someone else?! Sadly, that feels more like it.

Right or wrong, I guess it's just human nature to do that. I don't want to be that person, but I think I may be. It serves me right to have people say negative things about me when I think them about others. Can we honestly think that we are better than others? NO !

I once heard it said "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vein conceit, but in humility, consider others better than yourself". I was reminded of this wise truth the other day when I was talking with my friend Barbie. We got talking about someone who's given me nothing but trouble since I've known her. She's been mean and downright evil on occasion. Surly she deserves my condemnation; or does she?

If I were to consider her "better than myself" that would change the attitudes and actions that I have towards her. It would lean to measures of forgiveness and care. It would take into account the unknown about her. It would allow me to see her through eyes of compassion and even love.

My gut tells me that doing this would be met with her familiar mean response, but honestly isn't it better to be on the right foot than to allow myself to be bitter and angry? She and I both would be better for it in the long run!

It turns out that the Scope Guy taught me a very good lesion. He reminded me that I've got to know the whole scope of a situation before giving opinion, thought, or judgment on it. Perhaps others will consider the same when they look at my life. *Grin*