By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.
Proverbs 24;3,4 ESV
It was the last words she said to him before they closed the casket. It was the first time I ever saw her display emotion. Before that moment, the thought of my Grandmother Gaylor crying over anything, was inconceivable. The woman was a bulwark. A bastion of reserve and stoicism. But there she was, with tears flowing down her face, telling her husband John she would always love him. I had her pegged wrong. It would be years before I learned the real Addy Gaylor.
My Granddaughter, Lorelai, recently talked to me about a book entitled, “Eight Presidents that messed up America and three that saved it.” The titled bothered me (especially because Lincoln was one of the eight), but not as much as my Granddaughter’s confidence in a book she had never read. Her information was second-hand and sketchy at best. After allowing her time to state her case, I inform her she had no right to a have an opinion about anything without all the facts. She needed to read the book.
We all do it. Form opinions and render judgements without all the facts. After looking at a few snap shots of a person’s life, off to the races we go. The temptation to act like we know someone, after reading only chapter of their book, is strong and foolish. I made that mistake with my Grandmother.
Let’s all step back, take a breath, and stop pre-judging people. The effort taken to read the entire book of a person’s life would break down a thousand walls of misconception. It would help us see and understand that there is more to a person’s life than the phase they are presently going through. We might discover there are reasons why folks do what they do and are who they are.
In regard to Addie Gaylor, my older sister Phyllis, came to my rescue. I learned from her that Grandma was fun-loving and carefree. She enjoyed living, but I wouldn’t have known that if I had not asked. You see, I only read her final chapter when, according to my sister, she was dealing with a husband who had gone blind. My Grandfather had become bitter. I formed an opinion based on what an eight-year-old boy saw at the time; a very difficult time for Addie Gaylor. I was wrong. For forty years.
I can still feel the awkwardness of that first funeral. Standing there wishing the whole thing was over so I could return to play in my back yard. The smell of carnations and gladiolas, my tight suit, the ancient relatives smiling at me. Watching her cry should have been a clue. I wish I had known her in better days. I’m glad I found out what kind of person she really was, even though it took me forty years. I wish I’d taken the time to read the whole book