Today, I saw an excellent picture on Facebook and it used the quote “Do Not Judge My Story By the Chapter You Walked in On.” For some reason, this really resonated in my soul. Think about how powerful those words are. How much of a difference would that make in our lives if we looked at other people this way?
I guess the first place my brain goes is the welfare line. There are so many people out there that get some sort of public assistance. Food stamps can help most families. I’m on public health care because I have a number of different mental health issues. I have plenty of friends who have gotten help from a number of agencies in order to make sure that they are good to go.
But how did these people get there? So many people assume that public assistance = laziness, and that’s just not how it is. There are so many different backgrounds that people have. There are a ton of people on medical assistance and food stamps that work just as hard, or harder, than people who are not. They may have come across a hard time in life. Who knows what it is?
I guess this really hits close to home with me because there are so many people who have looked at me in different times of my life and have just disregarded me. Think about it. I have been up and down so many times in my life that, if you just looked at my at one point, you would miss out on all of the other things that had happened and why I was the person that I was.
All that being said, even though I’m doing well, I don’t want to be judged on this part of my life either. Yes, I’m doing well. I’m a lot healthier than I have been in years. But, there’s a whole story behind me. There are a lot of periods in my life that I have gone through and that I’ve been trying to figure out as to how I want to move forward.
You’ve seen my journey here on this blog and, honestly, I’m an open book. Because the journey is a big part of who I am. It’s a big part of who you are and you shouldn’t be ashamed of the stuff that you have had to go through. There are a lot of things that go wrong and that are hard for us to try and talk about. But, if you’re willing to show that as part of the big picture – that can be huge.
That’s where God shows up. That’s where s/he can start to really open up the eyes of people around us and make it so that we can see exactly how the universe works together. Sometimes things don’t make sense, but you know what? You can teach people how to love better. You can help people to see life a different way if you open up the whole journey instead of allowing them to make an opinion on who you are right in this moment.
That’s how it works with, say, the whole LGBT thing. Think about the hate and vitriol that gets spit at the LGBT community on a regular basis. How many of those people know and love someone that is LGBT? I know that there were several people in my life that were nothing less than shell shocked when I came out of the closet. Did some of them leave? Yes, because they judged the situation on who they saw at that moment.
But, there were a lot of people in my life who decided that, wait, let me look at the big picture here. Marti is still Marti. Marti is no less Marti than she was before. Just because there’s another label on her doesn’t mean that she’s not the Marti she was before. And that’s how you have to look at everything. Whether it’s mental illness, sexuality, gender identity, or anything else that can be perceived as a big change, that doesn’t mean that the person is any less of who they are.
In many cases, they have become a truer essence of who they are meant to be. And that’s healthy, and in some cases, that will save their life.
So, no. Don’t base someone on the moment. Don’t judge someone based on what you think you see right now. Look at a person as the sum of who they are, of the experiences that they have had, and everything else that may come up in the process. It will give you a fuller, healthier view of who they are so that you can do the number one thing that Jesus calls us to do.