Measuring A Mile

*WARNING*  You may not laugh at me today.  But rest easy – tomorrow you will.


You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.

Anne Lamott is one of my favorite authors, both for her insights like this as well as her piercing honesty, often disguised in humor and self-doubt.  Her world seems to be composed of equal parts joy and desperation, and I agree that sometimes, life feels like that.  Along with being a clever writer and a resilient woman, she also seems to frequent the crazy train, which makes me like her even more. 

Back to the point.  When was the last time you caught yourself gripping a gavel?  Yeah, I’m talking about those big wooden ones.  About judgment.  Not the eternal, you’re-going-to-hell-in-a-hand basket brand, but judgment that is so subtle that you hardly realize you’re doing it.  Perhaps you’ve been doing it your whole life. 

I don’t know about you, but in Anne’s terms, my god doesn’t like the rich.  And I don’t either.

I bring my gavel down on the wealthy.  Which is ironic, because according to global standards, I’m wallowing in cash.  And it’s equally true at home, since even among American citizens – the people I know and interact with every day – I’m thriving.

I have good health insurance.  My family has a steady source of income.  Our pantry is never empty.  My mind is not clouded by dementia or weighed down by depression.  Heck, my parents are still married. 
So yes, I ‘m doing just fine.

I think my vice is fairly garden-variety – it’s common– but that doesn’t make it any better than bigotry.  It is chillingly natural for me to want to stab scissor-holes through my finger-paint picture of wealth and leisure. But I’ve painted with a broad stroke, and my pride has had me blindfolded.  So, like your grandma says, just because everyone is doing it doesn’t make it right. 

It doesn’t make me right.

If you’re concerned - No, this post wasn’t written by Debbie Downer, and no, I haven’t been drinking bloody marys all morning.  I’ve just been tossing around the idea that it doesn’t have to be like this.  I don’t have to judge you, and you don’t need to judge me.  We can choose instead to learn a little respect for the effort it might take to walk a mile in that red pair of stilettos or those black combat boots.  Aren’t we getting enough blisters on our own?  Why wouldn’t everyone else?

This won’t change everything either.  You’ll still tease that kid at the Y.  I’ll still laugh when an old lady farts in the produce aisle.  That’s ok.  But maybe we’ll all take half the time we spend pointing fingers and start shaking some hands.  Think of all the hours we’d have if we stopped listening to the devil on our shoulder.  And maybe God would stop looking like me, and start to look like something better.


  1. At the risk of sounding like John Lennon, imagine if we all had the perspective that other people's values and needs were as important as our own... The world would have a lot less conflict, a lot less ice cream, and a lot less hunger. Thoughtful post, M.

  2. Great post... but C, why less ice cream? I'm kinda fond of the stuff :)


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