I have kind of a long story that I want to share, so please bear with me.
I started doing this online "game" where you're rewarded with experience points and gold for real life activities. It's geared toward helping you make good habits and break bad ones. When you do something you're trying to stop, you're punished with the loss of health points. (I don't know what happens when you reach zero health, that's not happened to me.)
Tonight at dinner, an unattractive woman walked in with four children, all of them 10 and younger, with no male figure in sight. Immediately, I judged her. I'm not proud of this. I assumed that because of her looks that no one could possibly want her, and the only way that she could have those children is by being promiscuous.
No sooner had the thought crossed my mind than I felt, deep in my gut, that this habit needed to change. I felt prompted by God (yes, I have faith) to add "Do not judge others" to my list of habits I want to change in the game. It may seem really silly, but games work for me. Being that kind of person does not make me feel proud of myself.
I also felt that I needed to go to her, and confess to her my horrible thought, and give her a gift. I am not proud to admit that I did not ask for her forgiveness. I introduced myself, asked her how on earth she manages four young children by herself, and gave her a small tea light and some information about the company I work for. I didn't ask her to join, I didn't explain the career opportunity: I just told her that inside there is a candle, and I wanted to welcome her to light that candle after the kids had gone to bed and take some quiet time for herself, because I know she could use it. She thanked me, and I left her to her meal and her family.
I remember how hard it was for me to manage two kids by myself, and how I hated the glares I got from strangers because I was a "single" mom. I don't know anything about this woman! I didn't even ask her name. For all I know, she could be where I was two years ago: married to a man deployed in a war, and trying to hold life together.
To the woman at Denny's... if you ever read this, I am sorry for judging you. I should know better. I have added "Do not judge people" to my list of bad habits to break and have clicked the minus button and taken the loss of health points... but that is not enough. I know that you have no idea what I thought, but I am sure you get looks similar to what I had been given when I was in your shoes, and I am better than that. I am no better than you, and there is nothing I can tell myself to reason away my wrong. I am very, truly sorry. If you ever read this, I hope you can forgive me.
I also hope that you enjoyed your candle. No strings attached. You have my business card too, call me anytime if you want another; it's on me.