Monday, May 20, 2013

Things are usually not quite like they seem

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?)



  1. Incredible! Thank you for telling this story--it's redeeming for you too, I think. So many times I have made this mistake of assuming someone's life is what I imagine it to be. It's truly a death-to-self to step outside of that and see what someone's real story is.

  2. What a great lesson in humility! Sometimes it hurts to get these lessons but it is good for the soul. I will also pray for this new mom that God heal her of breast cancer. Thank you for sharing this!

  3. So true... everyone has a cross to carry. I am so sorry you and her are going through terrible times. I think it is great you are praying! James 5 says the prayers of the righteous are powerful and effective. God does great things when people pray and ask God for His help.

  4. Thanks for sharing this story. Sometimes I judge people too, like for example if they have a better money situation than I do, and I think they have a perfect and easy life and then I find out the stuff that some people are going through.

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