Friday, September 03, 2010

passing judgements...

We all do it. More than we realize:
-did you see the guy with the cut off sweatshirt walking down Maine Street? What a dork!
-that kid must come from a bad family...did you see his clothes?
-that woman thinks she's "all that" with her skinny jeans and high heels
-that guy is a loser! he's homeless!
-your girls' birthmother's must be terrible people to lose custody of their children!

and it goes on and on, right?

The other day I was talking to a neighbor, asking him how his brother was doing. "Not good," he replied, "he's almost died three times in the past 3 months." His brother is a drug addict and alcoholic. He is also the father of a teenage daughter. He has custody. Her mother is worse off. We went on to talk about the circumstances surrounding the "near deaths." They were, not surprisingly, drug and alcohol related.

I then asked about his is she? Where is she? He didn't know. He did know that she was living with her boyfriend during the summer. He then went on to comment on what type of parents they must be to allow her to live with them....

I agreed for a moment.

And then the next moment hoped and prayed that we were wrong...that those parents were doing his neice a huge favor by giving her a safe place to live...away from the constant chaos and uncertainty that she faced in her home. I hope and pray that she is still there and far away from her father...

A few years ago my husband and I invited a young woman into our home because our home was the safest place for her. Her biological parents are emotionally abusive and no relatives could "put up" with her behavior.

She lived with us for about a year. We wanted to provide her a safe, loving home to live in while finishing her senior year of high school. At the time, we had just welcomed two of our daughters into our homes full time through adoption. Our home turned upside down very quickly.

The most troubling factor in this young woman living with us was her boyfriend. He was a drug user/seller and did not treat her well. I tried to coach her through some tough conversations and situations but, ultimately, she was in love with him and did what she could to stay with him.

She moved out. It wasn't a positive split. Donny and I vowed to love her no matter what...but we didn't see or talk to her for a long time.

She moved back home with her toxic mother, she moved into the boyfriend's parent's house...she finally found an apartment of her own...I learned this all through the grapevine...never talking to her directly.

It was the night of her birthday, a year later...we went to dinner and she was our waitress. We all fell in love all over again. I felt terrible that I forgot her birthday...I think she felt terrible that she hadn't talked to us in so long...

The ex-boyfriend was in jail, we were a bit least he wouldn't be influencing her any longer...she had a new boyfriend...everything was grand...

So we started our relationship all over again. We became extrememely close...closer than ever before, me calling her my "fraughter" (friend/daughter) and her confiding and entrusting me to her life stories. Our children were so happy to have her back in their lives. WE were so happy to have her back in our lives.

and then the ex-boyfriend got out of jail.

and then she saw him and told us about it....

and then I cried.

I cried, and cried and this time we had helped her get a good job. She still had her own apartment and was working hard to make her life her own...and now I knew that he would ruin it.

But then I thought about who she is to us. Who she is -period-. She is a strong young woman who has taken care of herself since she could walk. If she chose to be with this man, then it was my duty to HER and to my family to not pass judgment based on his past. It was MY job to accept him because I trust and love her.

Her birthday was coming up again...we invited the two of them to dinner. I was a nervous wreck. What if I still hated him? Why did I hate him? Because of what he did to her. My hate was not hate, it guessed it...FEAR. I was afraid he would hurt her again.

What is my point??? I'm getting to it, I promise!

It is not my place to judge any other human being. I can have an opinion. But judge? That's not my job. This young man has gone through hell and back and he's working very hard to be the best person he can be. It is my job to support and love him. - period-.

Isn't that how we all function in life? With our family and friend supporting and encouraging us?

What if you had people judging you each day as a failure? A loser? A detriment to society? If you did, what incentive would that be to be a better person?

I believe that we all have the capacity to be good people. If we have the supports and encouragement around us, we can do anything.

I can't promise my fraugher that she won't get her heart broken again, and he can't promise that either. I can promise her, however, that will love her forever and matter what.

Who are you placing judgement on? What is your judgement based on? Fear?

Think about it...


  1. I enjoyed this post- enjoyed how it made me stop and think, enjoyed reading about how you changed and grew- wonderful! Love the term "fraughter" too! Happy to have stumbled upon your blog tonight. Thanks for sharing! :) Cindy

  2. Fantastic piece.

    I haven't been blog hopping in forever & you've written the kind of thought provoking post that reminds me why I love peeking into others' worlds. Wishing you & yours a wonderful week

  3. Leslie, this was a beautiful and thought provoking post... how true that it is so easy to judge and so much harder to have compassion and to think about what makes someone behave the way they do.