Maybe it was because we always knew them. Maybe it was because we just didn't know any difference. Maybe it was because we were all just a few decisions away from another's situation. Maybe it was because when you REALLY know someone -- where they come from, where they've been, what they have struggled with -- it is hard not to understand, impossible to judge. But we just didn't. We didn't judge, we just loved.Especially Edwin. No one understood him. No one really could carry on a conversation with him (though Lord knows I tried) No one could ever get close him.But no one talked bad about him.
And now, as I drive back to the farm I grew up on, I pass Edwin's house just a few miles away. And when I am with a group of my friends, who have never been on those road, I hear a gasp. A gasp of being appalled. A gasp of disgust. A gasp of pity. A gasp of judgement.
And my heart drops. Cause although Edwin has always been a fixture in my life, I never saw him like they did. And because they never KNEW him, they could not see him like I did.
And for some reason, I felt a sense of protectiveness rise up in me for a man I honestly have rarely spoken to, but has always been. Always. He share cropped 100 acres on our farm, was the pallbearer for my Auntie, and was always a good man.
But I felt embarrassed. Not for Edwin. Not that I knew him. Not that I accepted him. Not that I was even a little like him.
But embarrassed that the same judgement I had seen on my friends' faces, had graced mine at different times of my life. Not in judgement of Edwin, but for others. And I was ashamed. For all the Edwins I had prematurely judged.
(PS If you look close enough, you can see Edwin on the porch. Ah, what a sweetie.)