Saturday, September 19, 2009

“Walk a Mile In My Shoes” – How That Is For Us

It’s enormous when we get a compliment about how young we are. Recently I had a friend mention to me that something I wrote reminded her of a song I’d be too young to remember... it was a song (I later discovered) that was performed in 1970 (I’d have been three) toward the decline of Elvis’ spiralling reign. Yet the song, like so many others, has a gently reminiscent chord of truth for us.

‘If only you could be me and I you, even for one hour,’ it goes. Before I went off abusing, criticising and accusing you, I’d be walking a mile in your shoes. I’d see and hear and smell and think and feel your world, not mine. Wow, how apposite that would be?! What a wonderful thought to experience the world of another, having that additional information to reflect upon.

And not only is this something that’s relevant to me seeing you negatively—it’s seeing the positive too. Imagine the capability, potential and power that I see in you!—when at times you see nothing but a failure in yourself. We’re too often blind to all these things, you and I.

Think of Elvis. He’d have known a level of personal scrutiny that we’ll never know. Imagine the spectrum of human dealing he dealt with, or Michael Jackson for the matter, to mention a contemporary example. They’d have known both flattery and unfairness in a realm we could never comprehend and can only sympathise with.

We see here the ignorance-in-a-second that leads us in blindness right off the path of righteousness and peace—both within ourselves and externally to others! “Those people who are uncomfortable in themselves are disagreeable to others” –William Hazlitt. We’re again mirrors of ourselves in our treatment of others.

And the crux is this. When we hurt others we indeed hurt ourselves. It can never be otherwise. We never really imagine ourselves being in a worse situation. We hardly ever see through another’s eyes or think through their minds or feel through their heart.

Yet, this alone would change our perspective eternally. And this is the essence of the Golden Rule: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets” –Matthew 7:12 (NIV). Upon this single principle lies the whole principle of relationship.

© S. J. Wickham, 2009.

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