Tired of the constant meaningless New Year's resolutions, I decided I would devote myself to becoming a better person, one day at a time. I sat down that night, reflecting on many of my past experiences, and decided I wanted to better myself as an individual. No weight loss goals or quitting bad habits for me, but rather a decision to turn my way of thinking around. I have constantly felt the judgment of others and the hurt that comes with it, and wondered if I constantly judge others the way I feel they judge me. Surely I was not as bad as those who assessed me!
Now that my eyes were opened to this thought of judgment, I went through the next few days watching my thoughts and examining my actions. By the end of the third day I was disgusted at what I had found. I was one of them - one of those people who made me feel as though I were nothing short of unworthy. I went home that night and found a quote that would symbolize not just my New Year's resolution, but also my life-long resolution...
"Forbear to judge, for we are sinners all."
That summed everything up for me. How could I complain of the judgment passed upon me while I was constantly evaluating others? I decided I was going to try and view people for their potential and not for their past. No one is perfect, so how are we to justly determine the innocent and guilty? Therefore, he who judges others also condemns himself. Many of the things that I was ridiculing others for doing, I have done myself. People are striving for acceptance, especially during their years in High School, and I was making it even harder for those on the outside to fit in.
I realized then that I needed to love instead of judge. Mother Teresa once said, "If you judge people, you have no time to love them." Her thoughts stirred me to further self evaluation. Ten years from now it won’t matter if you were the homecoming queen or the outcast. We will be on with our lives and high school won’t matter then, so why should it matter now? But the love you show will be evident in the lives of others forever. People rarely forget a person who has shown love to them asking nothing in return. Those who took a chance to reach out and accept rather than seek out to ridicule will be remembered.
It has been four months since I have made my new life resolution, and I have already been able to see some of the rewards of my efforts to love rather than judge. About a month and a half ago, my mom took me to visit the son of one of her friend’s who was dying of brain cancer. He was only eight. As we walked down the hallway of the hospital, I saw numerous people, all with various types of sicknesses. My first thought was leaning towards the side of judgment when I saw some of them, but my train of thought completely halted when we entered eight year old Stevie’s room. There sat his mom in a chair next to his hospital bed, exhausted from the sleepless night before. My mom and I sat down next to Stevie and his mom. Not much was said that day, for in that situation words are hard to come by. The fact that we were even there meant so much to him. Sometimes when words aren’t enough, your presence is. After about two hours there, my mom and I decided it was time to go, but as we were leaving, Stevie called me back. He held out his hand as if her was going to give me something. I extended my own in return, and out of his weak grasp fell four quarters. "Keep them", he said. I said thank you but questioned the gift as we walked outside, a bit puzzled and unfortunately, somewhat judgmental. Outside his bedroom, I asked his mom if I should keep the quarters. Her eyes teared up immediately after she saw what was in my hand. "Stevie had always collected coins-saving up for college he always said. Those were the first four quarters he ever saved, his most prized possessions," his mom struggled to say.
To this day I have kept those four quarters in my room. Set apart form all other "common" coins. They have held me accountable. They serve as a constant reminder of how a little love showed results in an even greater reward. Stevie has passed on since then, but his memory and the lesson he taught me will always live on. Because of him I’ll continue to do my best not to judge, but rather to love.