A truly blind person is not one who cannot see, but one who chooses not to see.
Here is an obvious life rule… we should never judge others until we walk a mile in their shoes. We all know it but sometimes, we subliminally judge without even realizing it. Like a reaction to an itch, we quickly analyze and assess people who cross our path. The other day, as I went for my lunchtime walk, I had one of those moments.
I was patiently waiting for my turn to cross a normally busy intersection. I felt kind of funny just waiting because at that moment in time, the intersection was not busy. I really could have jaywalked across, but I didn’t. Instead, I chose to be a patient citizen and soaked in the wonderful afternoon sun. As I was waiting for my turn to cross, an older clean cut gentleman whizzed by me and crossed the intersection without a care in the world. He seemed to be a fit man and was dressed all in black. He was holding a man-purse kind of bag and seemed very hipster. I immediately went from enjoying the warm sun to thinking to myself “oh! look at that guy, what an impatient jerk! Can’t even wait his turn at the light. What’s his hurry?”. It was then that I briefly judged him as some kind of stuck up artist or musician not giving a shit about the rules. I completely judged this man on the spot, without a care in the world.
As I watched him disappear on the crowded sidewalk ahead, I drifted back into my audio book and didn’t think twice of the judgement I had just placed on this man. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, I come across a “sidewalk closed” sign that was preventing pedestrians from crossing into an active construction zone. I began to scan my pathway to get around the construction and who should come into my vision? that older hipster gentleman that I had so carelessly judged only a few minutes ago. Here he was, taking his time and helping a blind man cross the street which was littered with gravel and other various hazards. The man I just judged as being an inconsiderate ass-hat was holding another man by the arm to slowly get him across to safety. Who is the ass-hat now? I felt horrible.
It is our instinct to size a stranger up. We need to satisfy our primal need of safety. It is why we are gifted with all of our senses. We rely on our eyes, nose, ears, mouth and fingers to assess all of the dangers of life, including new people who enter our lives. Is this person going to harm me? or help me? But when we go too far and apply stereotypes and assumptions, that is when things get dirty. We are allowing our minds to overreact and make the irrational, rational. I am a lucky soul to be blessed with perfect eye sight. But if I am using it to judge what I can’t see, instead of just accepting what I do see; then between me and the blind man that day who was helped by the older gentleman that I had earlier cast off as an ass-hat… Who really is the blind one?