It’s Ash Wednesday. That escaped most of my thoughts today – until tonight at church. Maybe there’s a good part to all my Catholic friends who get ashes early in the morning. But, I have my smudge now. I have my mark. I am claimed.
Tonight was about truth-telling – leaving our masks behind and spending 40 days in truth. It’s about facing our fears, our doubts, our anger, our sins……ourselves.
My truth today lies in judgment. Today I met a women who was pleasant, kind and intelligent. Today I saw a woman with a physical disability. Every positive thought that came to my mind was followed by a patronizing head-tilt-that’s-too-bad thought. Thankfully, this was all in my head and not out loud. But – it was in my head! I saw the disability first. After that, it trumped all my other assumptions about this woman. I did not doubt her, but I did doubt her ability to fulfill certain tasks.
I have always been an advocate for the underdog, the “least likely to succeed,” the one who was always chosen last for teams. I never shy away from someone with adaptive equipment of any kind. I’ve worked with adults and children with physical, emotional, and developmental challenges. I always thought I was one of the good guys that didn’t see people based on their limitations, but rather as someone in the midst of a journey – their own journey – to wonderful new accomplishments and potential.
Today I saw the limitation of someone else. I unfairly labeled someone as “less than.” Really – it doesn’t even matter that it was done unfairly and without evidence. I labeled someone as “less than.”
Today, my truth is ugly. The black mark on my forehead tonight is a reflection of the black mark on my heart from today.
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