Maybe She Needs To

This morning I see a groundhog racing around a field as I’m driving to campus. I know this field; sometimes a dozen or so groundhogs will scurry across and then dive into their underground tunnels. I imagine this whole network of tunnels and an intricate Groundhog City. I wish I could see it and understand it.

There’s so much hidden underneath the surface, I think. I consider their secret lives all morning.

Later, I walk into my building only to see some student sitting right there in the middle of the staircase so no one can pass by without difficulty. She’s talking on the phone, ignoring everyone as she sits there like she’s the most important thing in the world.

I squeeze my way around her, astonished–angry really–at her impertinence. How rude! How selfish!

As I pass her, I think of the groundhog. It’s the strangest thing; I think about the intricate tunnels inside that girl’s heart. There’s a whole life I cannot see. Maybe she’s sitting down because she just received the worst news of her life. Maybe she’s sitting there because she can’t possibly find the energy to move even an inch.

Maybe something’s happened to her, and, for whatever reason, sitting there, blocking everyone’s path is an inconsequential thing by comparison.

Or, she’s just selfish.

I don’t know. But for once, I consider how rude and selfish it is to judge others when I cannot see their underground lives and the intricate network of joy and pain within.

Share the Post:

0 Responses

  1. This reminds me of a poem by Miller Lewis: “Have compassion for everyone you meet, even if they don't want it. What seems conceit, bad manners, or cynicism is always a sign of things no ears have heard, no eyes have seen.
    You do not know what wars are going on down there where the spirit meets the bone.”

  2. Sadly, I do this all the time – judge someone with my standards and have no clue what their life is truly like! Heck, I sometimes do it in church (“why doesn't that mom just take that crying baby outside” etc etc) It is SO easy for me to judge someone else as rude or whatever! I hope I remember your words that I am being the rude one by judging.