Much of the impetus for me actually hitting “publish” on that post yesterday was that I’ve just been so exhausted by judgmental people lately. Not so much that they were judging me….but hearing them judge others….or not giving second chances….or first chances! I got sucked into some drama for a few weeks and I didn’t like the person I was becoming in the middle of it:
Friend: You know she’s not the right fit.
Me: Really? She seems alright to me.
Friend: Well some other people have found some stuff on her.
Me: People are looking for stuff? That’s kind of lame.
I recently befriended someone who I’d heard was: strange, abrupt, homeless…the list goes on. I stopped him one day and struck up a conversation and we hit it off. He’s not all those things….it turns out he’s just smarter than everyone else. And he is a little rough around the edges….another friend said he didn’t like the way that he talked to me….talking down to a woman.…but it’s just the way he talks. He talks like that to everyone….he’s just intense about what he’s talking about and asks a ton of questions because he wants to understand. I wish others would do the same for him.
I like people that aren’t so shiny and perfect. It’s the imperfect parts that make them interesting. And it’s way too hard to try and BE shiny and perfect. I just got a new phone and it’s been overly exhausting the last few days trying to keep IT shiny and perfect (I just can’t decide on a case that will keep it that way…..).
When I was little, we lived in a gated neighborhood on Lake Wylie in South Carolina. Everyday we drove by this small golf course pond to our house. And everyday people played golf and walked by that small pond too. One day a diver suited up with all his gear and dove down into the pond to retrieve golf balls. A few feet down into the water he came upon a Cadillac….and in that Caddy was an elderly woman who had driven off the road and into the pond. I imagine she took the turn too fast and her car quickly sank below the water line before anyone had a chance to see it. She had been there for months…..with her purse, and her groceries and even her little dogs…..her family thought she had just disappeared off the face of the earth….but she’d just been in that pretty little pond all along.
We later moved into Charlotte onto another golf course with a lake. They drained it every few years and we’d haul thousands of golf balls back to our house in a wheelbarrow. When the weather was nice my dad would tee them up and hit them right back into the lake. One year when it was drained we found two pieces of a rusty golf club that had been broken and thrown out in the lake. The name on it was John Hayes. I told my dad it would be funny to contact him and tell him we found his club. My dad said it wouldn’t be that funny…..John Hayes was serving a life sentence in prison for murdering his wife.
I guess the point of those stories is that I’ve never looked at a pond or a lake the same again. They might look pristine and perfect from the outside but my mind starts wandering to what secrets lie beneath the surface. And I wish I could magically evaporate all the murky water and wander around and see what treasures there are…..because my real fear of pond and lakes is not knowing what’s down there. I don’t really want to be finding dead little old ladies….but I think of what a blessing that was to her family. As far as the golf club goes….I think we threw it back in the lake.
Kelsey Poofy Cheeks says
Wonderful post Ashley -a great reminder that you should never judge because everyone is in their own season of life.
More! More! More! I love the thought of more of your stories/life experiences, Ashley! Why do I feel like I have more in common with you now? I didn’t party as a teenager. I didn’t live in a gated community with ponds. I don’t even feel like I have much of a story to tell about myself. But I think that is it…..we ALL have a story. It’s just a matter of finding anyone who is willing to listen. The man you mentioned has a story! He has a story that made him the way he is today–rough around the edges. God bless you for not judging and giving him a chance—and for simply being kind to him. Looking forward to more “non-sugar-coated” blogs. 🙂
Tleshia Farrar says
I really enjoyed this post!! Keep it up!!
Courage has a domino effect. Your actions make me think of Brandon Heath’s song, “Give Me Your Eyes.” And, geesh–I’ll never look at a pond the same way again… Thanks! 😉
Sitting, almost on the other side of the world, reading your posts gives me a huge feeling of gratitude. I love all your posts! -With or without sugar coating. I read alot of blogs, but I always, always come back to Lilblueboos universe. You are SO inspiring and I thank you and your family for sharing all your ideas and thoughts:-)
Wishing you a great summer,
I love your two last posts, thank you for sharing! And I’m even wearing the Fear will not rule-t-shirt today!
Longtime reader, first time commenter. Your words are so beautiful and eloquent and I’m sorry I’m only just now commenting. Yesterday’s post has just left me in awe of you. I always imagined you as this amazing daughter, mother, person. And not to say you aren’t, but you’re a person who has made mistakes and grown and changed. Can the ability to forgive ever be bad? Isn’t that what holds most people back (okay me and everyone I’ve seen on Oprah) from really moving forward? You’re amazing and i hope you keep doing what you’re doing because you have affected my life for the better.
NONE of us EVER knows what lies below the surface. None of us should ever judge someone by comments made by others. Someone you don’t care for could be just the right person for me. My wonderful husband passed away 2 1/2 years ago. Naturally, I was just as low as I could possibly be. I decided one of the things I had to do to get back up was eliminate negativity in my life. That stuff can pull you down and quite frankly, I was afraid to go any lower. Ashley, I wrote to you before and told the story about feeding the right wolf. That is how I live my life now. I don’t worry about things like I used to. I don’t allow negativity in my life. If all people can do is complain, mope, bad-talk, etc, i just turn away. I don’t want that for my life. I want whatever years I have left to be happy. I think from everything I read about you and your life, you are a wonderful person, wife, mother, daughter and friend. Don’t you worry about what anyone else things. You do what feels right to you and you can’t go wrong. God is leading all of us. We just need to live each day to the best ability we have and he will steer the boat. It will all work out in the end.
Angie B says
What a great piece. Thanks.
Alice H says
OMG how sad about Fran. That story broke my heart. I always make my kids wear their life jackets or belts in the lake. That lake water is NASTY and so dirty. If they go under, I would NEVER be able to find them. I like your perspective on what lies underneath.
Lee Wolfe says
While working at a large warehouse where I was working on the receiving docks. We utilized a third party company to supply the workers to unload non-palletized trucks. One of those workers was always quite, dirty, wore old tattered closed. Well needless to say he was quickly judged and looked down on as someone who was just working to drink. One day early on we were assigned the same truck and somehow I got him talking, not much that day but it opened up a dialog. I got the same story from coworkers as your friends – stop talking to him, he’s bad news etc. We talked a little more each day he was there over the next few months as we were paired up often since I was the only one who didn’t complain about working with him. Well one day inside that mostly unloaded truck he broke like a flooded dam, he told me how he was once a bank vice-president (unlikely I thought) but as I listened I became convinced that he was telling the truth. You see, his wife and daughter (I still remember their names but never met them) were tragically killed in a car accident and he took it hard. Within two months of their funerals he had quit his job sold everything but a suitcase full of clothes and two small pictures he kept folded in his wallet. He said that material things didn’t mean anything anymore so he didn’t need them. He said he discovered something the day they died that showed him only the time you have will truly affect those you love (never did get the story behind what he discovered). I never told his story to anyone until now but I have never looked at anyone the same way since. I learnt that day that everyone has a story behind how they became the person they are today. I try not to judge people(I’m human though & I catch myself time to time doing it, nobody’s pefect); on what they wear, how long their hair is, where they live, how they live, or what they believe religiously, politically or socially. It’s just a waste of my time and my time is for my family while we are all still here. There will be a final judgment on each individuals life and it will come from a higher power than I so I’ll just leave it to him. “We are what we do when no one is watching”
Ashley, would u b willing to offer up more of ur story? I am curious to hear where u r today in ur struggles. I also believe that it’s our imperfections that make us uniquely perfect.
ira lee says
well said- today’s post and yesterdays, and the kid confessions. they were so wonderful!@!!!!. your honesty is very refreshing. i really enjoy deep thought envoking conversations. it makes me really think about my life and what i want to accomplish with it. and it also grounds my beliefs and refreshes my soul and makes me re-evaluate my relationship w god. i want to live right for him. and lots of times i feel the pressure of the world around me and i am struggling and fighting just to get thru the day. but i don’t want to just ‘get thru’ the days- i want to live them! and it’s hard because life just won’t let up sometimes .
Your words often free the broken pieces from the past tucked away in the corners of my heart and mind. And you share your strength with us. You inspire us to go forward with our lives. To embrace what’s going on right now, and to live fearlessly with great love and creativity. That is a fantastic gift you share.
I’m so thankful for all that you write, whether it’s confessions, crafts, Boo experiences, or how you’re getting through a challenging time, Ashley!
I am just a little dumbfounded by you, in a good way. I don’t have all those beautiful words. I think your pretty fantastic basically. Your on the right path.
I think you have a book in you. A great read.
Your story reminded me a story a co-worker shared with me years ago. It’s one I recall often when I need to be reminded not to judge others for we never know what they’re going through in their lives. She was working in NYC and commuted home to Westchester on the train. One evening she just made the train and, exhausted, walked through several cars trying to find a seat. The train was packed. Finally, she came upon the only empty seat which was next to a man who was approx. 65 years old, and looked to be a Wall St. executive type. His briefcase sat in the empty seat and she stood there for a moment indicating that she’d like to sit down and could he please move is briefcase. After several moments he finally jerked his briefcase onto his lap with a loud grunt, obviously irritated that she would bother him. She sat down, also irritated by his rudeness and apparent arrogance and said ‘I’m sorry, did your briefcase buy a ticket?’ at which point this distinguished man burst into tears. He said he was sorry and went on to tell her that his wife had died 3 weeks before and he was just a mess. They talked for the rest of the ride about his wife, about grief and loss and just connected on a very human level. I try to remember this man when someone is rude or difficult and I think we all just need to give each other a break in this world. Life is hard and we need each other.
Jill Hubbs says
I thought you were wonderful before, and even more awesome now! You are creative and fun and intelligent and strong and REAL. Thanks for sharing so much of yourself with all of us.
hmmm i have a pond in my front yard. ack! now im curious whats out there! lol
i would also like to say that i too love how real you are. as someone who wasnt raised in church, its easy for me to believe lifelong christians have it all together and only i dont. so when i read or really talk & listen to others, i discover theyre just like me! we all suffer from worry & self doubt, joy, sadness, love, & kindness. thank you for always looking for the best in ppl.
I love the pond analogy, that’s such a great way to put it! My husband and I have been judged very unfairly in recent months, simply because people are dreaming up the big details based on their perceptions of little ones. It really sucks to be the “strange, abrupt, homeless” man when you’re not any of those things. As one of the mis-judged “ponds”, I would like to thank you for not listening to others and befriending that man anyway. I’m sure he was very appreciative, I know I would be!
A side note: Hearing about those ponds makes me a little leery of the one near my house… I’m in a town I knew NOTHING about until we moved here, and our subdivision surrounds a pond, just down the street from another one… O_o
Meghan Harrison says
You are SO lovely. I love you and reading your words. I am so in love with hearing your pieces of your story….its refreshing and beautiful.