She/He/They are Just A Kid!
Updated: Aug 12, 2021
Whoa, the busy days of summer are here!!! My kids are making up for a previous quiet pandemic summer by enrolling in nature camp, sailing, surfing, swimming and on the list goes (Grossology and all)! I, in the meantime, am trying to stay connected to myself amidst the summer chaos via meditation and my daily lessons in A Course in Miracles. I also try to squeeze in segments of work publicizing my book, treating patients, and above all trying to stay connected to the gratitude and blessings for all these things!
When a rare idle moment emerges, I sigh in peaceful relief. The peace is quickly interrupted when my ego, that has been dormant in the busyness, springs into action eager to analyze the past or resume planning the future. It has judgments, opinions, and blame for everyone and everything, especially me. I am ashamed of my dark thoughts. Like a fish that keeps getting caught by the same baited hook, I become frustrated after years of self improvement work I took the ego’s bait, yet again. I am happy to report, that before the momentum of shame and frustration spiral out of control, I pause again, this time to forgive—forgive myself for my dark thoughts and everyone else for my ego's blame and judgement of them. The Course states, ‘forgiveness is the path back to God’, and I quite agree.
The other day, as I pulled up to my parent’s house, I was met with an unexpected surprise when I saw my three-year-old nephew standing in the driveway. I hadn’t seen his beautiful face in a week or two so I expected he would come running up to hug me. Instead, he was quiet, shy and timid. After giving him a minute or two to warm up I eventually leaned in to kiss him, upon which he recoiled his head backward. For a moment, I was tempted to take it personally, before I quickly reminded myself, ‘he’s just a kid’.
The next day after the encounter with my nephew, I went to the store to purchase a piece of salmon for dinner. When I approached the grocery store’s seafood department, I witnessed a somewhat irate woman. The older woman customer in front of me was agitated that no one was behind the counter to assist her. I watched her agitation rise, and at one point she even walked behind the counter yelling for someone to help her. It was easy to judge her behavior. However, I stopped myself and realized I too had experienced being frustrated in the same situation. Granted, I was never compelled to go behind the counter or yell. Yet, the frustration was the same, regardless of its external vs internal expression.
Eventually, the seafood employee came out from the back and the customer expressed her dismay. The employee responded he just got off the phone with a neurosurgeon. The customer didn’t seem to know what to do this with this news, perhaps she didn’t even properly hear him behind his mask and the distance of the counter. Nevertheless, she took her wrapped seafood and walked away.
When it was my turn, I clarified with the employee that he had indeed said ‘neurosurgeon’. In which he replied, ‘yes my brother fell and he’s about to have surgery on his head. The surgeon needed to speak with a family member to clear him for surgery and ask if he had any allergies’. I gasped, and told him how very sorry I was, and wished his brother all the best with his procedure. I then thought I had even more right to judge that customer who yelled at someone who is so innocently dealing with a difficult situation. I stopped myself again, as I did with my nephew, ‘she’s just a kid’. The limp in her walk and graying hair wouldn’t necessarily confirm my assessment, and we assume that living a certain number of years results in wisdom that we’re supposed to know how to compose ourselves despite life’s numerous frustrations.
The truth of the matter is, like a child learning to walk and frequently falling, we are all just trying to get through each day and each new experience the best we can. Yes, the customer had a fall in terms of social etiquette and lack of compassion. I think back to my nephew and the pass that I gave him because he’s a kid. I can’t help but think we all deserve the same leniency and compassion (regardless of if we ‘deserve’ it), because after all we all were kids at one time, and we are all Children of God, regardless of the number of years we have lived.