Walk a Mile in His Moccasins

Walk a mile

This week, I had the opportunity to attend CABA which is an autism conference for my work. My favorite part of the conference was listening to talks from amazing women who are mothers of children with autism. These woman were at the forefront of fighting for services for their children. They gave up successful careers to take care of their families. The most heartbreaking part of their stories wasn’t the fact that they gave up their careers, have dealt with daily tantrum behavior, aren’t able to go out to eat and vacation like the rest of us, the lack of sleep, or even what it feels like to have therapists in their home daily. The most heartbreaking part of their stories is when they share the reaction from the community. The hurtful quotes that people have said to them and the lack of support shown by neighbors, friends, and family was shocking. Despite these difficult situations, these woman have great lives and love their families. One of the moms shared this poem and I wanted to share it with you.

The poem Walk a Mile in His Moccasins was written by Mary T. Lathrap in 1895. The original title was Judge Softly. Here is the original poem.

Pray, don’t find fault with the man that limps, Or stumbles along the road. Unless you have worn the moccasins he wears, Or stumbled beneath the same load.

There may be tears in his soles that hurt Though hidden away from view. The burden he bears placed on your back May cause you to stumble and fall, too.

Don’t sneer at the man who is down today Unless you have felt the same blow That caused his fall or felt the shame That only the fallen know.

You may be strong, but still the blows That were his, unknown to you in the same way, May cause you to stagger and fall, too.

Don’t be too harsh with the man that sins. Or pelt him with words, or stone, or disdain. Unless you are sure you have no sins of your own, And it’s only wisdom and love that your heart contains.

For you know if the tempter’s voice Should whisper as soft to you, As it did to him when he went astray, It might cause you to falter, too.

Just walk a mile in his moccasins Before you abuse, criticize and accuse. If just for one hour, you could find a way To see through his eyes, instead of your own muse.

I believe  you’d be surprised to see That you’ve been blind and narrow minded, even unkind. There are people on reservations and in the ghettos Who have so little hope, and too much worry on their minds.

Brother, there but for the grace of God go you and I. Just for a moment, slip into his mind and traditions And see the world through his spirit and eyes Before you cast a stone or falsely judge his conditions.

Remember to walk a mile in his moccasins And remember the lessons of humanity taught to you by your elders. We will be known forever by the tracks we leave In other people’s lives, our kindnesses and generosity.

Take the time to walk a mile in his moccasins.

 

 

Every Person Needs Kindness

Rose 2

Over the course of the last year, I have had the privilege of meeting many inspiring people through social media. I appreciate everyone who has taken the time to message me and share personal stories. I am both honored and, I must admit, a bit overwhelmed by the number of people who endure such difficult life situations. They have inspired me to look at statistics of those who are touched by trauma. Here is what I found:

1 in 4 women are sexually abused before the age of 18. 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before the age of 18. 1 in 5 women are raped. 1 in 4 marriages have at least one episode of abuse.

Human trafficking is out of control! According to a September 2017 report from the International Labor Organization (ILO) and Walk Free Foundation: An estimated 24.9 million victims are trapped in modern day slavery.

The cruelty that exists in the world today is inconceivable. Millions of children are being bought and sold as a commodity with no concern for their life, happiness or fulfillment. TV shows joke about pornography and attempt to “normalize” it. This is BIG business and many traffickers are becoming wealthy because society is saying this is okay. If there were no consumers, pornography would end and traffickers would lose money. Let’s boycott everything that benefits traffickers.

I have had parents of children who were murdered or missing contact me. Some children have been gone for months, some years, and some have been found murdered. The worry and stress that these parents endure daily is unimaginable. They love their children so much.

I remember how strange it was when I first came back home after being kidnapped. I imagine this strange feeling is similar to how others who have experienced any kind of trauma may have felt afterwards. One day, life is going along smoothly. Everything in life is moving like a fine tuned clock… and then the trauma occurs. The world around you continues as usual; however for those involved life is anything but usual. Instead of life being like a fine tuned clock, it feels more like you are frozen and a freight train is headed straight for you, but you can’t move.

Think for a moment about the statistics of those who have endured trauma. Then, think of the parents, sisters, brothers, friends, co-workers, school mates, neighbors, etc. If you really think about it, we are all effected by trauma. I think we are safe to say that at least half of society is deeply suffering. Wow! Even though they are suffering, life goes on. They have to get up every day, get dressed, and go to work, the store, the bank, and so on. So, if you are driving down the freeway and another driver isn’t focusing on the road and may cut you off, think twice before reacting. You don’t know what is happening in the lives of everyone you pass so it’s better for us to choose to be compassionate. Looking at the statistics shows us how important it is for us to be a little kinder to each other. Every person needs kindness. It takes strength to be kind. It’s easy to yell at someone and justify why they deserve it. But remember that we don’t know the story behind the people that we meet throughout our day. For some, it took all the strength they had within them to get dressed and out the door. Meet them with compassion. Be strong. Be kind. A simple smile or encouraging word can give hope to a hurting soul. Give love without hesitation.

Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ has also forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32

“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” Mark Twain

Be the light!

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