At one of our Tuesday night stained glass classes my brother-in-law, Bob, looked over at my project and commented, “You know, if you want to do that right, you ought to…” He then proceeded to explain to me a ways thought my work could be improved. I was in the process of polishing my project and planned to take it home that night, so I retorted, sharply, “I’m sorry your judgment is getting in the way of seeing my project for what it is – perfect.”
Later in the class, I noticed that Bob was cutting out his pattern with regular scissors, instead of using the special, stained-glass, pattern-specific pair. I knew this error would cause each piece to grow and wreck havoc when he attempted to assemble the pieces later on. So I pointed the mistake out to him.
He quoted me back to me.
George Carlin – a hero of mine, honest observer of the human condition and truth teller – died late Sunday night. He was famous for many keen insights, one of which was, “other people’s stuff is tihs while our tihs is stuff.” How true. (Of course, he wasn’t a rabbi who had to reverse a few letters to get around spam filters.)
We value our own things (and opinions) much more highly than we do that of others.
This truth is the same is true with regard to advice and judgment – what happened with me and Bob at class.
My judgments are good advice while other people’s advice is nothing more than annoying judgment.
(Of course, we know this is just our grand egos getting in the way.)
When the Bible advocates that we LOVE one another as ourselves, I think it means that we need to learn to see that their tihs is as wonderful as our stuff, and that their judgments might be helpful advice.
Spiritual-religious advice for the week: understand and remember that another person’s version of reality is just as valid as your own.