Yesterday morning I was parking my car at Swedish hospital for my INR (blood thickness) level appointment. Swedish has become my new home as I am in there at least three times a week for these appointments. I have my routine where I park my car, get my coffee at the Starbucks, and head up to the anticoagulation clinic to get my blood taken.
This particular morning, I parked my car in my usual spot…the “patients only” section of the parking lot and as I was getting out of my car, this conversation took place.
Woman- *in a nasty tone* “Excuse me, but these parking places are reserved for PATIENTS ONLY! Visitors parking is down there”
Me- “I actually am a patient, but if you want this spot, I would be happy to move my car for you”
Woman replied “Don’t BS me, you are not a patient, you look fine to me” as she sped off.
hmm…well that is where she is wrong. See, little does she know that walking across the entire parking lot is exhausting for me because of my invisible illness.
Cuplit of this story…is not the woman, it’s the assumption.
We are so accustomed to drawing conclusions based on what we can see with our eyes and we forget that we do not know what is going on beneath what we can see.
Each person is an iceberg. Although they look enormous, 80% of an iceberg is under the water.
Due to the pulmonary emboli (blood clots in my lungs), and the medicine those require me to be on, my life has changed dramatically.
Little do people know that the reason I wear sweatpants/yoga pants 90% of the time is not only are they comfortable, but the band of jeans causes me to bruise at the waist. Most people probably just assume I’m sloppy.
Walking across a parking lot or any time of distance walking is a struggle because the blood clots killed significant portions of lung on each side.
My hair stays up in a bun most of the time, not because I’m lazy but because sometimes I don’t feel like crying in the shower as I wash it and clumps of my once thick hair fall on the shower floor.
I cancel plans or leave events early to go to bed because my body is so exhausted from the healing process can hardly move. I do in fact like to have a good time.
I wear lots of clothing constantly because my blood is so thinned, that I am constantly freezing and rarely warm.
My legs aren’t always shaved because it is even more of a tedious chore now because if I cut myself, I will not stop bleeding for an hour.
I forget things…a lot. It’s not because I don’t care, but because its a side effect of my medicine.
I say these things because assuming is something we all naturally do. We judge without reason. We speak and act without thinking. We look at someone and automatically think we know what’s wrong with them, when in fact, we do not.
We have heard since children not to judge someone until we walk a mile in their shoes. I had a teacher when I was young that would tell us when we were upset at someone to simply “walk a mile”. We all knew that it meant to think of things in the other persons perspective. It meant to think outside of the box that we could see, to think beyond what we preconceived and look through another persons point on view.
“Walking a mile” is something I have continued to remind myself to do before judging any situation. I am not always perfect at it, but making it a habit to stop and “walk a mile” will change the way you see the world.
I urge you to think about the 80% of someone that we can’t see and not judge based on appearance of a situation. Everyone is going through something whether its physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual. Instead of judging each other and taking God’s job, lets love each other the way Jesus did- unconditional and without assumptions. Before we judge, love and before we assume, ask.
Proverbs 18:2 “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.”
Let’s not forget about the invisible illnesses. We never think to judge someone who APPEARS to be sick or disabled, however we constantly judge people who LOOK okay but in fact may not be. Why does an illness or disability have an “appearance”?
Before we express our opinion, lets all take a second to understand.
Walk a mile today, friends 🙂