You know, I think it's a good life practice to listen to children. These are our children, given and chosen. The littlest ones and those who are even taller than you, our children. We need to listen because they are paying attention. They too are listening. They are watching and they see much more than we realize or (give them credit for). So, when I was talking with Sam about things to let go of, the first thing out of his mouth was "judgment."
Stopped. Me. Right. There. And so now I'm thinking about it. Acknowledging it. Recognizing it. And considering the wisdom of letting go of judgment.
In this season of Lent, this season of holding on and letting go, I confess that judging is one of my go-to practices. Sometimes my judgments are knee-jerk. Sometimes they are attached to grudges, long carried. Sometimes they are unexpected, sometimes not.
Judging another is so often about my objectifying another person. No longer allowing the other to participate in the conversation or the experience, often I make my judgment as easy as that, and then – whether the object of my judging knows it or not - it's done. Wrap it up. Put it in a box. Put it on a shelf. Done.
Or is it?
What if the process allowed everybody to be a subject? Subjects control their verbs. Subjects have feelings and life experiences. They have human frailties and foibles. Subjects make mistakes. Whether I acknowledge it or not, the other person is also participating in this moment.
There’s a great quote by Viktor Frankl, “Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” There it is. Drop the mike.
If I were being completely honest, I’d acknowledge that judging something or someone gives me the sense that I am controlling the uncontrollable. Often there is a feeling of power - of not letting this hurt me, not letting this change me, not even letting this in.
To. What. End?
On this Lenten journey there is time to sort through the answer to that last question. Time to unpack, discard, re-pack differently all of what I want to continue to carry. Is this judging practice life-bringing and life-giving? Does it bring life to me and those who are in my village, in my world? Does it bring growth? What would the children say? I think my kind son, Sam was telling me something pretty important. Now, what do with his message?