A recent need for some R & R took us to the white sandy beaches of Florida last week. My idea of a good beach trip consists of the following: Wake up around 9am. Go to beach until 6pm. Go out to dinner. Sleep. Repeat. The beach is the one place that I truly just wanna become a slug.
One morning as we sat on the beach to start our day of sluggin out, I witnessed a middle aged woman with her husband in a wheelchair. After she wheeled the beach-specialized wheelchair down to the water, she assisted her husband out of his chair and into the water. After witnessing this man's partial paralysis, it became very obvious to me this man was a stroke victim. I have seen that walk and those struggles too many times not to notice it immediately.
The whirlwind of emotions I felt in the next hour is uncanny.
I couldn't take my eyes off of this couple. Immediately thinking of my Dad and stepmother and sympathizing with what this couple was dealing with. So many thoughts went through my mind- feelings of sympathy and pangs of ache for my own father who deals with these ailments everyday.
A few minutes later the couple made their way out of the water and back to their area of the beach.
It only took about 30 seconds before they both lit up cigarettes.
It made me so angry.
My face twisted and contorted as I stared at this couple smoking the very thing that put this man into that very wheelchair. I was weirdly disgusted- angry at these total strangers' life choices to continue such a habit that threatened this mans life and had certainly taken away his quality of life in a huge degree. My defense was up and my disgust was rising by the minute. I lifted my book and started a new chapter trying to get my mind off of this couple, but my mind was stuck on the subject. Like a ping of laughter from God, the scent of the cigarette smoke miraculously made its way to my nostrils and I was forced to deal with my strange anger towards these people.
Then it hit me.
I overeat on a regular basis.
I put chemically altered foods in my body regularly.
I swallow sugar by the spoonful.
I sloth around and don't exercise like I should.
I have anxiety like a squirrel.
I stress myself out daily over nonsense.
At that very moment I was laying in the harmful sun with a questionable amount of sunscreen on.
I do all of these things and SO much more KNOWING how harmful some of my habits can be to my longevity and quality of life.
I am no better than this man and his wife.
I am actually worse because of the judgement I passed on them while doing the same very thing in my life.
We ALL have our struggles and ailments to overcome-- whether it be smoking, overeating, overworrying, anxiety, drugs, lying and so much more.
Let us not judge others for the twig in their eyes when we have logs in our own.