Tilting the Kaleidoscope

I think that in much of our lives, we often and only see others in a particular role that comes to define them in our minds: the traffic officer writing tickets, the business clerk preparing invoices, the judge pronouncing sentence, the maintenance worker scraping paint. Seeing these people in such narrow function, we may forget that they have lives beyond the windows through which they appear to us. They also raise children, tend gardens, visit aging parents, mourn deceased loved ones.

It may be that they engage in these other roles with the same demeanor; perhaps the traffic officer is also a legalistic church member, the business clerk a stern and demanding sibling, the judge an uncompromising neighbor and the custodian an obsessive parent. But my experience has been that those other roles often reveal a very different nature or at least very different applications of personality.

The traffic officer is a very dedicated family man, the business clerk a humorous and loving grandparent, the judge a tireless community activist, and the custodian an incredibly talented artist. They do not transform into other people away from work; they simply display other aspects of who they are.

It is not feasible that we gain deep personal knowledge of every other person with whom we come into contact, even if on a frequent basis. But it does seem quite reasonable that we avoid defining them based upon a very limited interaction. I believe that this, too, might be an example of judging others as we would be judged.

H. Arnett

About Doc Arnett

Native of southwestern Kentucky currently living in Ark City, Kansas, with my wife of twenty-nine years, Randa. We have, between us, eight children and twenty-eight grandkids. We enjoy singing, worship, remodeling and travel.
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