Thursday, June 09, 2011

Judgement Vs. Discernment

I have been dwelling on the idea of judgement quite a bit lately.

It started as I was attending a recent Kairos weekend...and later just plain old worship at the prison. I  watch these offenders, many of whom are from rival gangs, come together. They put aside their judgements and biases..and form a community together. It occurs to me, that if they can put aside these differences and celebrate eachother for who they are. Then surely, surely, I can put aside my own biases, and quit trying to lump people into some category or another. You know.."republican, conservative, religious right, etc.".

I REALLY need to stop that.

Then? We have an issue with Austen and working at Girl Scout camp.Austen is hoping to travel to Australia next summer and needs to work to help pay for the trip. He was hired to lifeguard..and needed a physical for camp.

But nothing in Austen's life is ever that easy. You know says the P.A. who is filling camp form, What does your neurologist say about you lifeguarding? Does he know?

Absolutely! responds Austen.  I've life-guarded for the past two summers...and I've been seizure free for over 3 years now.

She continues the physical and says..You are healthy!..but I just can't release you to life-guard. Have your neurologist fax a letter. It's been less than 5 years...I'm not comfortable with you lifeguarding. We need to make sure you and the girls are safe.

Austen looked stunned. Then smiled and said Well thankyou. (put out his hand to shake hers)I'm sure he will.

 So the next day we call the neurologist. You know..says the office head I think he should come in for an appointment before he goes.

So she squeezes him in on Monday. The day he is supposed to start training for the summer.We call the camp director to let her know what is happening. She tells us not to worry. Just get there as soon as we can, and call her if he doesn't get cleared.

I spend a couple days worrying about Austen. Austen and I realize that this is a liability issue. It is possible he won't be cleared. We agree to hope for the best. To pack his bags as if he is going and if he doesn't get cleared, come home, unpack and call the director.  I start wondering if going to Australia will also be a problem. I can't, after all, control other peoples fears and concerns. I have enough trouble with my own.

Austen, however, is much stronger than I give him credit for. He has already thought it through. Don't worry's not your fault. 

Not yours either kiddo. 

I've been thinking ,says Austen, If I can't work at camp..then I think I'll work at Flying L. I'm pretty sure they will re-hire me...and if I do get to go to Australia (so he too has thought about this possibility) then when I get back I'd like to start Brazillian capoeira. (in other words..if I can't I'm working on a back-up plan to enjoy my life)

And then we go to the neurologist office. I'm not going to blog about how we spent 5 hours in the waiting room. Along with all the other patients from Texas, Mexico, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. But the truth is, when you spend a day with other families, you start to talk. Everyone in the waiting room was intrigued by Austen's circumstances. He offered hope to those who are still struggling with seizures..yet he reminded everyone of the biases that will never go away in the lives of our children. The literal scarlet S these kids will always wear. Yet he was smiling, and pleasant and funny. He made the best of the situation.

When our visit was over a woman from the waiting room gave him a thumbs up with a questioning look? As I paid our co-pay, Austen returned her question with a big grin and two thumbs up..and then? I kid you not. The waiting room cheered!  I cried.

So Austen is at camp. Hooray.

And I continue thinking about biases. Then a Buddhist-Christian yahoo group I belong to has this huge thread about judgement vs. discernment. We challenge eachother to go through ONE SINGLE DAY with no judgement. No.."look that guy is driving like an idiot." but rather discern "this is not safe."   No Ugh why does my husband ALWAYS complain?" but "oh..yeah..he complains a lot." etc.

It is a subtle but huge difference. I am discovering that going from judgement to discernment is trickier than it may first appear. But when I can do it? I feel physically lighter. Honest.

Then today, I see this thread on facebook. An article on litmus test for Christians.

I realize that this applies to me as well. That while I am quick to recognise biases and prejudices in others..I too..have categorized what I deem appropriate for Christian behavior..and what is not.

So, for now, I continue trying to fine tune my own understanding of judgement vs. discernment. I suspect it will be a life-long process.

No comments: