December 15, 2010
By Anonymous

I considered myself a good judge of people; from those I saw everyday to those I gave fleeting glances while I walked down the street. Sure, I could be incorrect about people, but I have trouble acknowledging when I’m wrong. Yet, something happened that made me realize judging another person—no matter how sure I am—is a mistake. My mom and dad had been divorced for about five years when my dad met Caroline. Dad was secretive about her for a long time before he finally revealed her to my brother and me. Of course, most of the family knew about her already since Dad wasn’t as skilled at being deceptive as he thought. When Caroline and I first met, I evaluated her immediately: ditzy, condescending, and frankly, a w****. I didn’t like her. Not only was Caroline all wrong for my father, she was also a threat to my life at my dad’s house. Admittedly, I was angry about the amount of money my father spent on her. He paid some of her bills and bought her family’s groceries. He even paid her kids to do chores at her house. I hated that greedy woman for stealing what should have been mine. “Once your brother moves out, I’ll be able to do more for you,” Dad said four years ago. Unfortunately, my twenty-year-old brother had yet to move out and mooched off Dad considerably. Now this woman was in the picture. She tried too hard to win my approval, while siphoning away what was mine! Mine! I probably would have hated her forever if it wasn’t for one instance.
We went to a family friend’s 50th wedding anniversary party and I was trapped sitting across from her. Between stints of glaring, I noticed something: she made my dad happy. Dad’s mixture of fawning and smiling made me think back to the times I spent with them. A common theme emerged. Dad was genuinely happier with this lady around. I realized perhaps Caroline was not the w**** I had so swiftly and selfishly judged her to be. Maybe the patronization I felt from her had simply been her attempt to seem interested and concerned. Maybe she did mean well. Maybe she didn’t ask for all my father gave her and he only did it because he loved her. At last I saw Caroline wasn’t a person I should so harshly judge and resist, but someone I should get to know, and maybe welcome into the family one day. I believe you can never really judge another until you really know them. This one epiphany taught me to never be so quick to condemn another human being; people are unpredictable creatures and you can never really know anyone just by looking at them.

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