Friday, January 23, 2009

You Never Know Who is Sitting Next to You

I was the third person at the tire store that morning. It was 20 minutes before they opened and I wanted to get in and out quickly. As it got closer to the opening time others began to show up and I was forced to get out of the truck and stand in an impromptu line. Minutes before there were eight or nine folks in line and no one was talking. I had already dissected the lives of several and how they were not going to have the manners to allow those who were there first their rightful place at the counter when the doors opened.

I have been at this exact place and had a woman come up, cut in line and then barge to the counter ahead of all those who had waited outside patiently. I said something to her, as many might have wanted to, but she shrugged it off and took care of herself.

I am guilty of selective judgment and taking someones inventory for nothing more than how they look. I have to say some of the problem does lye on the shoulders of the person who is representing themselves by their fashion choices. I know business owners who were interviewing for a specific job and had applicants come in sloppy dressed, slouching in the chair, not answering with a yes sir or mam. They come in with little attitude or look of true desire to work, or at least it appears that way.

I have talked with distraught young adults and men who complained about how they were treated in an interview or meeting. When we dissect the situation they had to reflect on their part of the problem.

But I digress; we were talking about me and my prejudgment of folks I don’t know. So the fact is I do on many occasions. A lot of times you are what you look like and it is a fact that people will decide who you are the first few seconds they see you.

So back to the story from this morning, there was a young man with an old truck who was dressed in baggy jeans and a black hoody pulled over his head. He got right in the semi structured line and ahead of several folks. I decided he was a kid with little manners and probably a trouble maker or not very motivated.

I was the first one through the door and pointed to the first two guys that were there ahead of me, they came forward and made their way to the counter. I was next and then I lost track of how it went from there. I made my way to the waiting area and found a chair in the sun. I pulled out my laptop and prepared to write this blog – but that is when God wanted to teach me, again, His way.

The young man asked me, “are you in wildlife management?” The logo’s on my truck says Texas Outdoor Zone, Wildlife Management Harvest Unit 1. I told him I was an outdoor writer and worked with kids to get them outdoors. That lead us into a conversation about him, his love for quail hunting, his father’s influence and how he ran the family business and a second year student in college.

What an amazing young man. He was very well spoken and wanted to volunteer to help with the boys if he could. He cuts firewood everyday for the family wood business. His father does not get out and hunt much any more but he loves to bird hunt and the dogs.

I am so sorry Lord I looked at one of your children and judged them. I am guilty of it many times. I am sorry to my new friend and I pray I can make it up one day, even though you don’t know it, I am truly sorry, you’re a great young man from what I know now.

Yes, it matters how you present yourself. Humans will be human and thus flawed. But again the Lord will allow us grace to learn and grow closer. I, again, am so glad I met this young man and who knows where God will take the relationship. He may be a key to the leadership of the whole Kids Outdoor Zone program or maybe we won’t ever see each other again. But I got the message Lord, sorry -

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