January 22, 2010

Thoughts On Mocassins . . .


Image:  PatrickJSparrow

I've been thinking.  About the earthquake in Haiti.  About the struggles and trials of friends and family.  About recent occurances in my own life.  All have given me opportunity to pause and reflect.  And I keep coming back to mocassins. Particularly this oft quoted saying:

"Don't judge another man until you've walked a mile in his mocassins."

I've been feeling the need to loan out my mocassins in the hopes that someone might like to see how I'm feeling.  I've offered up little glimpses here and there.  Every once and a while I just blurt out random truths.  Like when the cashier at Target oohed and aahed over Ollie and then said he must be an easy baby.  "Not even close!" was my quick reply.  She stared at me like was a horrible mom and I felt guilty so I quipped, "But I sure love him." And I do.

But I was offering her my mocassins.  And she didn't want to try them on. 

Yesterday someone offered me their mocassins.  And I willingly took them.  I wore them for the rest of the day.  It was heartbreaking.  Even when I took them off to go to bed, I could still feel the burden of being in those shoes. I lay in bed next to my Hubby, explaining the situation to him.  We committed to an increase of love, help and understanding towards the mocassins' owners.  I thought about it all three {THREE!} times I got up to be with Ollie in the night.  I thought about it first thing when I woke up this morning.

Once again I have greater understanding of this profound truth:  we can never know the private suffering of the individuals who collectively make up this human family.  And there is so much suffering.  I can say it from my own experience.  I'm pretty sure 95% of the people I see on a regular basis have absolutely no idea what the past six months have been like for me.  I can say it because I now know that my mom suffered silently for forty years at the loss of a daughter.  I can say it because of what I learned yesterday.  And I can say it because even though I will most likely never walk in their shoes, it is written on the grief stricken face of every Haitian in every picture from the earthquake aftermath. Suffering.  Sorrow.  Hurt.  Pain.

So today I'm pondering ways I can get into more mocassins more frequently.  Since people don't readily give up their shoes, I've decided I need to imagine what it would be like to try them on.  I need to consciously make a greater effort to imagine what it must be like to be the other person in any given scenario. To take into consideration what their life must be like.  To generally treat all others with greater compassion and care because I just don't know what burdens they are privately carrying.

I love shoes.  There.  I said it.  But more than that, I love human beings. And I really love it when human beings experience joy and gladness. I really want to love more fully and to be a part of bringing that to more people.  Maybe by doing this, I will once again feel more comfortable in the mocassins that don my own feet.

dragonfly signature

16 comments:

Stacey Gerlach Moe said...

Beautiful post, Sam. Think of what a better world this would be if everyone felt the way you do.....

Christy said...

Beautifully written and a great reminder, as always. Thanks, Sam.

Anderson Zoo Keepers said...

Love you Sam.
Great post.
I hope your friend gets the peace she needs. I've been struck recently by how many trials seem to be popping up in the lives of friends and continue to be grateful for my family and friends like you.

aiketa said...

Love that post. It's really well written and completelly true!

MelancholySmile said...

You echo my sentiments exactly, only you write it much more eloquently. :) Anytime I find myself feeling that the grass is always greener, I try to remember that everyone has their own private sorrows. What the world needs is less envy and more compassion.

Chocolate on my Cranium said...

Eloquently said. It reminds me of Sister Hinckley's admonition to "Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."

Emily@notionsonnesting.com said...

What a beautiful, thought provoking post! I tried on your mocassins a few months before you wore them and know how hard those baby struggles are and to tell you the truth I'm still struggling with them, since my not so little baby woke up three times last night, too. Oh the joys of no sleep. I keep telling myself eventually it will get easier.

Apis Melliflora said...

One of my favorite inspirational quotes too! It's where I go when someone offends me or hurts my feelings: I try on their mocassins and I am much less offended and/or hurt.

You have a heart of gold to go with those tender feet.

And I wish I could borrow your shoes more often, literally and figuratively.

The Queen Vee said...

WOW!!

Can't write anything that would be more clear or meaningful that what you wrote.

squeezeme said...

Thanks for the few minutes today where we could swap moccassins over the phone. I'm so grateful for the years of sharing moccasins with you!

Sue said...

I've been feeling pretty weary in my mocassins lately. Thanks for the reminder to think of others and rest from my woes awhile to carry another's burden, even if only by listening.

Love you.

wildwilma3 said...

Thank you, Dragonfly...truly is a beautiful post. You have inspired me to love, love, love!!!

C and Co. said...

Thanks for the message and as always, very well written.

Tracie said...

I love knowing you! I am so grateful for times when you've simply acknowledged my tattered mocassins with empathy. Your creative, giving heart continues to bless me through this venue with posts like this. Thank you so much!!!

Mindelicious said...

You know, I often look down and think, "These cannot be MY shoes!" Sometimes it's because I feel so incredibly blessed, and other times it's because I'm facing things I never, in a million years, thought I would have to face. But my shoes always take me to a better place. I guess God knows what he's doing.

Apis Melliflora said...

I still love this post and think of it often.