A short vignette, to file in the folder labeled "Encounters that made me grow in humility."
I wrote last week about being frustrated that our new next-plot neighbors in our community garden have a newborn that they bring to the garden and talk about a lot. Gardening is a huge stress reliever for me, and something that helps me fulfill my desire to be nurturing. So I was feeling a little put out, in a "really, God?" sort of way that even my garden couldn't be a baby-free zone.
Well, after I wrote that, I went to the garden, and when I saw that my neighbors were there, with their newborn, I grumbled inside and resolved to ignore them as much as possible and just concentrate on my plants. (I know, horrible. I'm just being honest.)
Then the wife gardener asks me whether such and such a pile of leaf mulch is fair game to use. I say I don't know. Then she adds, "You know, weeding has been a challenge for us so far. We have a newborn, you know..." [me, inside: grumble grumble of course I know you have a newborn! You only mention it every time I see you....] But she goes on, "And I was diagnosed with breast cancer last year, actually while I was pregnant. I'm still undergoing chemo, and it's just hard to get here enough to weed."
I had no idea. And felt really ashamed. And have made a commitment to pray for her. Because her baby is something of a miracle baby, right? No wonder she talks about him all the time. He must be the bright spot in her day, the thing that is getting her through chemo...
Score 1 for the Holy Spirit, leading me to greater humility, teaching me to not judge so quickly but to have an open, compassionate heart. There's always more going on in someone's life than what's visible on the surface. (Why is that such a hard lesson to learn?)