Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Can't Afford To

I'm surrounded by a lot of wealth. Much of it is on a scale I cannot comprehend. Gated estates with guard dogs and exotic cars are seen easily and regularly. It's easy to judge and come to quick conclusions about my neighbors. Much of it is disguised envy of the type I used to experience as a child playing the "choose" game with my brother or sister though the latest toy catalogue of things we knew we'd never own.
I was with one such person recently at a social function. He inherited weatlh and made more. He's my age. He's retired and travels the world with his wife. He's always tan and always smiling. It looks too easy. At this social function I asked about his children. His lip began to quiver and his eyes welled with tears. It was a social gaffe. Men did not shed tears or cause tears to be shed at such occasions. He excused himself and I felt embarrased at what I had done.
A couple of minutes later he returned, composed and calm. He pulled me aside so we could talk more easily. He experienced a terrible loss early in his first marriage, a loss that still aches after all these years. He thanked me for asking and listening and apologized for coming so unglued with me.
Inside I was the one apologizing to him for so quickly coming to judgement about a story I did not have an inkling about. My sin is just that: coming to sure and convinced opinions about persons with miniscule knowlege. I'm glad God does not do that with me. I wonder when I'll learn I can't afford to do it?


At 8:54 AM , Blogger kent said...

I am not sure that is was a social gaffe. You just stapped on something without knowing. The response was unfortunate. You didn't know, you were simply making conversation. But you are right, we are often unaware of the complexities and pain in others lives and we make the wrong assumption that they sliding long without a care.


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