Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Read this on Lola's blog, and spent some time pondering that very good question - when DOES opinion turn into judgment? I finally landed on an answer that worked for me: When it lacks compassion.

And I totally believe that.

But do I FOLLOW that?

Not so much.

Went walking with Kathleen and we saw a house in the neighborhood that still has its Christmas tree up in the front window. Not just up, lighted and decorated.

It was zero to full judgment in 1.2 seconds, "It's nearly a month after Christmas," I barked, "WTF?"

Couple hours later I went grocery shopping and amongst my other very essentials, was a bag of Valentine M&Ms. As the checker scanned them she said, "Wasn't it just Christmas?"

"Well, in my neighborhood it still is for one family," I said, "they still have their CHRISTMAS tree up, and lighted!" Felt the harsh words hurl from my mouth and instantly regretted them, but it was too late, my spewage had made its exit and landed all over her.

"When I was a little girl in LA," she started to tell me, "it was during the Vietnam War. My father was a paster, and one family in my father's congregation kept their tree up until March that year - hoping their son would come home soon and he would get to see it. They waited for him."

I felt the tears start to come.

"He never made it home.." she said, choking on her words.

I've changed both my opinion and my judgment.


Michelle O'Neil said...

Oh Carrie,

You are a good person. We all have our judgements, little and big. You are open and willing to learn, and willing to put it out there for all of us to learn from as well.

Thank you.

Angie Ledbetter said...

What Michelle said! You do the hardest/most self-examination of almost everyone I know. Thanks for the role modeling. :)

PS...all my Christmas stuff is still up, and has been known to be hanging around as late as April. LOL HUGGAGE

Jerri said...

We all make snap judgments. Not all of us recognize them and bring them out of the dark to help others.


menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

A salutary lesson - we all make assumptions - it's how we deal with too much information being thrown at us. These events like the tree are reminders from time to time that we are all judgemental - but you should be kind to yourself for you weren't judging someone harshly as a matter of course - you saw the tree out of season, out of context and wondered at the unsuitability of it. Wonderful post - you write so well.

Jenny said...

Such a good reminder - there's always another side to the story. Good post.

deb said...

You're right there is a difference between opinion and judgement, a fine line. Judgements color opinions.

I'm trying to stick to facts when I'm driving which is when I am most judgemental. I'm trying to let go of he's a terrible driver and replace it with the facts, he's driving over the speed limit and weaving in and out of traffic. I still get the same information that I need but without the judging. But it's hard to do.

I live in a city with a huge Ukrainian population, Christmas always hangs around until the end of January here.

Carrie Wilson Link said...

deb - I like that "just the facts" approach! It simplifies the process, doesn't it? It's what Eckhart Tolle calls "touching with gentle awareness," but that sounds all woo-woo, and "stick to the facts," is so much more practical/applicable!

Go Mama said...

Or maybe they have their own little Rojo in that house, who so desperately insists on squeezing out every last drop of Christmas spirit...and that's why the tree is still up. Or, it was Grandma's last tree before she parted and they just can't part with it.

This is a good reminder that any detail on the surface can be pulled into a prism of deeper explanation and experience. Isn't that what we try to evoke with storytelling?

The thing I keep trying to work through is how we can find common ground and stay focused/unified even while having quite differing ideas about something. It's hard not to end up in the mosh pit.

If you got an ideas on that one, let me know!

Lori said...

Wow. Powerful reminder that people do have reasons we don't see or understand sometimes.

I think I needed to hear this right now. :))

Robin said...

And the hardest thing not to judge---is (wait for it) judgemental people. Even those people (a group in which you are NOT included) deserve our compassion. sigh

Nancy said...


Thank you for this.

Lola said...

As always-WOW! I loved your 'opinion' on the question and I agree.....:)

Wanda said...

Here's another one for you...

What's the difference between judgment and discernment?

I think you hit the nail on the head about judgment lacking compassion. I'll have to learn to say, "A$$&%!!" with more compassion, I guess.

(just kidding)

Me said...

Why? Why must you do this to me?

drama mama said...

So truthful. And human.

Because we all do it.

Thanks for the reminder.

P.S. Can you please post some Rojo stories? Soon?

Deb Shucka said...

I love your honesty and your willingness to expose your shadows. They make your light even brighter.

kario said...

I love how you continue to learn, my dear. I think judgement also comes when we begin to feel superior to others for making a different choice than we ourselves would have made.

Love you!

Anonymous said...

Just took my outside lights down today and thought about this blog. Wonder what my neighbors have been thinking? I rather liked them up. Plus, to be honest I thought my husband would take them down because normally this would really bug him. Judgement,something we can feel so strongly yet be so off base.