I still retain a bit of the old school mentality of Sunday clothes, well if not exactly Sunday clothes I at least differentiate between church going clothes and hangin' by the pool casual. So what's a boy to do when faced with the dilemma of inappropriate footwear on a Sunday morning?
Skipping church altogether was not an option as this was the choir's final Sunday singing the anthem for the season. We are a small church with a less than thriving congregation (in numbers anyway) which means that our choir consists of fewer than a dozen singers and I am the only guy singing the bass line. So, if I am not there a vital element of the composition is left out.
As I got dressed (I did have a pressed shirt and pants in my car because I had picked up my dry cleaning on Saturday before heading over to my friends home for dinner/unexpected sleep over) I suddenly heard my mother's voice.
It is not important what you wear to church. No one should comment on what anyone is wearing on Sunday morning because you are there to worship, not judge.
So off I proudly went, in those shoes that at make me happy, to join my fellow choir members to sing a beautiful anthem dedicated to all of the men and women who lost their lives fighting for our country.
But this got me thinking. There is a whole lotta judging going on out there. We can't seem to stop ourselves from expressing our 'opinions' on all sorts of topics; from the cars others drive (Is it Eco-friendly? In poor condition? The wrong color?) to the way folks live their lives (That couple will never last. All gay people are going to hell. That fat girl should put down the bag of chips. S/he should be in school getting a degree instead of doing whatever it is s/he is doing, etc.)
I even had someone chide me recently because I prefer to use my American Express card over a MasterCard or Visa.
And I couldn't help but wonder...
"Is any of this really anyone else's business?" (That's my little shout out to 'Sex and the City'.)
As tempting as it is to pass judgement, which I too am guilty of, I think we need to take a step back and consider that everyone is simply doing the best they can with what they are given and show a little compassion. Isn't it a blessing that there is diversity? Is passing judgement on others just another way to make ourselves feel better about our own choices?
Who among us is perfect? Joseph Campbell wrote in Pathways to Bliss:
"Perfection is inhuman. Human beings are not perfect. What evokes our love - and I mean love, not lust - is the imperfection of the human being. So, when the imperfection of the real person peaks through say, "This is a challenge to my compassion." Then make a try, and something might begin to get going."
I believe that this is what my mom was trying to say all those years ago. To expect kindness and compassion from others and if it is not given to keep on our own path. My mom has remained true to her words and the things she has taught me continue to spring back to the forefront of my mind when I least expect it, like today. And I am grateful.