Last night I started reading a book titled, The Holy Secret, authored by James Ferrell, (excellent book) in which it can help the reader (if the reader chooses *S*) to see the blocks keeping us from loving "holy" things (such as scriptures, the Temple, and the Sabbath Day and all aspects involved with those subjects) In reading as well as in creating the blog, Thought"full"ness, I am starting to see things in me that may not be as good as I had thought. One of them being, my perception of others.
Perceiving others is just a nice way of saying, judging others. I really do try to see the best in people, but I find myself having judgemental thoughts about others (even strangers) that may not be so nice after all. We have opportunities all around us to change those thoughts; just driving down the street this morning on the way to Curves gave me ample opportunity to think good things about people that I did not know.
In living in a smaller town, I have opportunities to see all kinds of people and see the same ones more frequently. We have a group home here for "mentally challenged" people. Every once in a while I see a few of them out and about. There are a several I'd like to highlight:
A few times when I've been eating lunch downtown, a girl (or lady; not sure how old she is) has approached me (as well as everyone in the restaurant) to buy some of her "art". These drawings look very child-like and it is obvious that she is not an artist and one's first thought could be "please don't approach me" and avoid her; as well as, I will not pay money for something that I will throw in the garbage. So the first perception of her might not be very favorable; however digging a little deeper, she is to be admired for having her own kind of work ethic; for putting herself out there to earn her own money and to be her own kind of independent. I am thinking that her perception of herself is positive so I am hoping that is what she sees in others.
When I was working the day shift in Subway (about 18 years ago!) a group of people who lived in the group home would come in around 2:00 or 3:00pm. There was one guy that amazed me; he must have been some kind of "souvant" because his ability to see coins and know so quickly how much it was in an instant was so interesting (and he was also particular about the "newness" of change he was getting back). Just by looking on the outward appearance of this man would lend my perception or judgement in negative thoughts, but actually "seeing" him was a different story.
One last highlight: I have not seen this guy around in a while, but one day I was driving down the street and saw a guy riding a bicycle (which was absolutely normal) until I passed him and saw that he was carrying a doll. On that particular day my first thought was, "whatever it takes to make you happy is great!" and then I just became a little saddened that he was that way (that's a negative judgement in itself, huh?) My daughter and her family were visiting a few years ago and we went into Rite-Aid. As we were in the toy aisle, he was there with his doll, and my granddaughter (who was probably around 3 years old) was fascinated with him. I wonder what her perception of him was?
One last story: (and I cannot remember who related this story but I heard it at a Church meeting): There was a man on a plane with children who were very obnoxious, and the man seemed to not care or try to quiet his children to the detriment of the passengers around them. In delving a little deeper in the situation, someone found out that this man's wife had recently died. How wrong would it have been to trust our perception of that situation and judge him harshly!
I guess my point in all of this rambling is that as we all dig a little deeper we may find more areas in ourselves that need some work and improvement. One of them being how we perceive others, and honestly, the only people we can "fix" are ourselves. It is our thoughts, words and actions that matter.
"We cannot tell what may happen to us in the strange medley of life. But we can decide what happens in us, how we take it, what we do with it---and that is what really counts in the end.
-----Joseph Fort Newton