It is true that I can be easily moved by the most mundane events. Anything from a sunset and a newborn baby, to the fragrance of my mother’s favorite flower can bring me to tears.
It seems I’m not the only one who can be touched by the simple, yet very meaningful, events. My friend shared a story on Monday after she and her family attended their Memorial Day Parade near the Kennebunk area. As my friend looked on to the soldiers in the parade, who represented each branch of the armed services, she silently shed a few tears of her own. Noticing the streaks on her face, my friend’s 11-year-old daughter said, “Mom, why are you crying? You don’t even know these people.”
Which brings me to the quote of the week by Atticus Finch ("You never understand a person until you consider things from his point of view.....until you climb into his skin and walk around it it"); that small town lawyer was a wise man and I want to spread his insight just a little further by pointing out the wisdom of my friend’s 11-year-old statement.
It is true. We don’t know others - really know them - or the events in their lives that brought them where they are today. Unless, of course, we are able to step out of our own worn and tattered shoes and walk a step or two in another. If provided the opportunity, I suspect for the most part, we would want our own shoes back.
I for one don’t know what it’s like to go to or have gone to war to defend others’ rights and freedoms. I don’t know what strength of character it took or takes to do such a thing. If I walked in a soldier’s shoes, I would want mine back.
I for one don’t know what it’s like to leave my home country and arrive in a foreign land - not because I want to - but to save my family’s life from tyranny and death. If I walked in an immigrant’s shoes, I would want mine back. Although this is not every story of a new citizen, it is the most prevalent.
So, to hop on the back of Finch’s wisdom, please remember those who served in the war or are serving presently and embrace those who left their land to become free American Citizens with understanding and appreciation to the best of your ability.
Or - you could walk in their shoes.