Sunday afternoon we took Mess Cat’s, Bubba’s, and my littles to go swimming. As I walked back to the gomobile to get my sunglasses I overheard three men talking “golf” talk.
They sounded like high school teenagers, arguing about a person who wasn’t there. Apparently the fourth guy (not present) was not going to be happy because they wanted to play at this golf course again instead of another one, which apparently was where the fourth guy wanted to play. Now.
One guy looked something up on his phone. “The last time we played there was July 10th. So yeah, not quite a month. We’re okay.”
Another said, “Well, you know what he’s going to say if we put him off another week…..” and then he proceeded to mock the other guy like I have seen my little people do.
It’s been a long week. A lot of brokenness in this world coming to the forefront.
When I walked by these guys, whose greatest worries were where to play their next golf game, and who were a bit less than compassionate to their alleged friend and golf buddy, I just shook my head.
Way to share the light, guys.
There’s a whole lot more valid and important things to be stressing over in this life, my friends.
I know young parents who are worn out from parenting and do not have nearly enough emotional support in raising their children. They need a friendly ear and a big hug. And lots of backup. A young man in our community took his own life and left folks with all kinds of what ifs and wondering why. A friend is struggling with the diagnosis her mother recently received–terminal. A young woman in college has nowhere to go when the semesters are over, and so she does the best that she can to have a place to sleep when the dorms are closed. Each day children age out of the foster care system and are dropped off on the street corners with their backpacks full of belongings and little else. Single mothers go through cancer treatments and do their best to parent the ones in their care with little to no help from others. People are arguing with each other over children coming to our country in need and whether or not we should help them. Folks fight over whether or not we should be treating people with frightening diseases in this country. People are hurting and hiding their stories behind masks and hoping no one sees what threatens to come to the surface.
All the while there are folks who have no greater worries than where to play golf next weekend.
Or do they?
When I first set out to write this post two days ago, it would have ended after the sentence ending “next weekend” just two lines above here. But tonight, after an evening of great discussion with caring and compassionate and beautiful people, I am compelled to extend the grace I so need myself and say, I have no idea their real stories. I don’t know what those men are facing when they head home. What the golf game might be a respite from, or how much weighs on them as they turn out the lights and close their eyes at night. I have no idea the depths of their real worries and if maybe it’s a relief to stress over something as minute as where to play the next golf game. I don’t know.
And that’s the lesson in this I guess. I was so quick to judge on Sunday. So ready to turn my head haughtily and give them the stare I’ve worked years to perfect.
It’s really never that simple, is it? Those shades of gray showing up again–and the knowledge that folks aren’t all good or all bad. We are all just making it the best we can. The other lesson I’ve learned in this is surround yourself with good and compassionate and thinking people. The unexpected treat of an impromptu visit with just such folks tonight changed me. It changed my heart, my attitude. The grace, the love, the laughter that they shared with me made it easy for me to pass on the same to the golf buddies in retrospect and to the people I encountered after I said goodbye tonight.
Listen to folks’ stories. To quote Taylor Swift, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” Don’t assume anything about someone else’s story. And surround yourself with folks who make you want to be a better person and then expect it from you…..and love you anyway when you don’t quite hit the mark.
(You getting all this, Tara? You writing it down? Yep. Got it. Now to live it out.)
Wishing you all someone to hear your stories with a grace-filled ear and good folks to share the whole journey–the joys and the heartbreaks.
Love to all.