“I can’t believe she doesn’t buy a new washing machine” the neighbor stated with passion in her voice to her husband as she looked over her back yard fence at their neighbor’s dirty clothes drying on their clothesline.  “Surely they can afford a washing machine that will clean their clothes.”  Please allow me to come back to this.

Stephen Covey said “We see the world not as it is, but as we are.”  You wake up today on the path of life where you wake up.  There are others near you, but no one is exactly in the same spot on the course of life as you are.  Your steps have been your steps and nobody else’s.

Your parents may have divorced when you were young.  You may have grown up a “trust fund” child.  Your history may include abuse.  You may have moved every other year as a child.  You may have attended church every Sunday growing up.  You may have become pregnant unexpectedly.  You may have been a star athlete in high school.  You may have crooked teeth or speak with a slight lisp.  You may have lost a loved one to death.  All of these and more shape who you are today.

Your story is a series of happenings, some beyond your control, and some resulting directly from decisions you have made or not made.

I am writing today about where you are at this very instant in your life.  I am sorry if you have events in the past that are not fond memories. I am excited for you if you have experienced awesome events that have gotten you through to today.

Regardless of the days you have lived and regardless of whether or not you have 20/20 eyesight, you are wearing today a pair of glasses which filter and shape how you see the world.  Some of this world view you can’t change, but most of your world view can be changed.

You feel strongly about a political candidate.  You like tattoos.  You enjoy wine with dinner each evening.  You think we should be more aggressive on fighting crime.  You enjoy country western music.  You think God should be put back into our schools.  You think a woman should be able to choose to have an abortion if she wants one. You give your time and resources to a charitable cause.  How complex and differently wired are each of us?

There isn’t one of us who isn’t a bundle of biases and prejudices.  Don’t ever say that you don’t have any of these.  It is not your fault.  You are wired the way you are...again, some of it is by choice and some by happenings outside your control.

So, we have a neighbor with dirty laundry.  What does this have to do with anything?  The lady who complained about the neighbor’s laundry saw it day after day, week after week, in her neighbor’s back yard as she looked out her kitchen window.  It shouldn’t have bothered her so much, but it really did.  It caused her to not enjoy life to its fullest and her critical spirit was contagious. She shared with everyone she knew that she had a neighbor whose washing machine produced dirty laundry.

Then early one morning, the critical lady decided to do some spring cleaning. In the process she cleaned all of the windows in her home.  It was badly needed since it had been years since she had done so.  Several days later she noticed her neighbor’s laundry on the clothes line next door and, amazingly enough, it was clean!

As it turned out, the neighbor didn’t need a new washing machine, the critical lady just needed to clean her kitchen window.

I ask you, how do you see the world around you?  Are you seeing other’s dirty laundry all around you?  Does their dirty laundry lower your quality of life?  Does it cause you to think less of others?  Does it cause you to live with a critical spirit?

We judge others by their actions and we judge ourselves by our intentions.

Maybe what you need to do is to clean your glasses.  Or better yet, change glasses.  Regardless of what is inside you from your past, everything you see today will be viewed through the glasses you wear.

You can’t change the past.  You can change the present.  You can change the future.

My challenge to you is to adopt a world view that focuses first inward, on yourself.  Focus first on what you can control.  The journey you have been on, good, bad, or both, should not serve as a hindrance to you and others, but as a springboard to your present and to your future.

Take what has shaped you into who you are today and adopt a view of others and outside events that gives them the benefit of the doubt.  Ask yourself if their dirty laundry isn’t a result of your dirty window. Often you don’t know what is going on in others’ lives as you judge them harshly. If you were walking their steps you might see their actions differently.

Consider cleaning your glasses.  Better yet, consider removing your glasses and putting on a new set.  This action by you can change your life today.  And changing yourself will change the way you see others.

Just a thought...


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