Its one of those phrases that I remember my mom saying when I was a kid. I think she would say it this way, “I remember my daddy always saying, don’t criticize a person until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.” Its been said a number of ways by a number of people but the basic idea behind that familiar statement is this – you don’t know what life is like for someone else, until you’ve lived their life.
I’ve grown up with a common disorder of “people pleasing.” I hate to know that someone is upset with me. I find myself so often saying, “If they only knew . . . .” Truth is most people will never know what life is like on my side of this screen, any more than I’ll know what its like for them. I could try to offer a thousand explanations, but from that side of the screen, my explanations will just appear as excuses.
This reality challenges me to often take into consideration that I really don’t know what life is like for you. I could formulate opinions on you, your actions, your words. But I don’t know why you are the way you are, why you do what you do, or why you say what you say. Because of that I’m challenged to show grace. I’m challenged to not be upset, frustrated, or judgmental of you. I will confess, sometimes I fail the challenge. Sometimes I make judgments. Sometimes I get frustrated. Sometimes I get upset. But I hear the words of my mom, echoing over in my ears, “Shannon, don’t criticize until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.”
So, I don’t know what life is like for you on that side of this screen. But I wish you well. I pray that life is good for you. I hope you have plenty of reasons to smile, and laugh, and live in hope. But if not, for what its worth, I don’t judge you. I’m not walking in your shoes. You are. So walk on. Walk a mile. Walk another mile after that, and know that at least one person is behind you cheering you on to keep walking.