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Judge Not

Listen, wait, listen again, and judge not:

The late Robin Williams once said everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind, always. Robin Williams was perhaps the perfect messenger for this thought. None of us knew the battle he was in, a fight for his own sanity that he waged every day.

My husband was a rescue helicopter pilot for many years, so he witnessed a lot of human struggle, a lot of personal tragedy. He told me this story recently.

One night he was called out to a vehicle accident on a nearby freeway. A man had lost control of his pickup truck, flipped the vehicle over, and crashed in the median. When my husband arrived with his medical team, the patient, a man in his thirties, was inside the ambulance. He had broken bones, and a few open wounds, not much seriously wrong with him, but he needed to go to an emergency room in any case.

While my husband watched, the paramedics worked on the man, starting IVs, putting a hard collar on his neck, preparing him to fly. As they did all this, the man kept asking about his truck. ‘Is it okay?’ He asked. ‘Did I total it? Can I drive it again?’ It was clear to my husband, at that point at least, that the truck’s condition was critically important to the man.

My husband walked into the median where the truck was on its top, ‘probably totaled,’ he said. Then he saw the boy.

‘In the median, several yards from the wrecked truck, I saw a small boy on his back, a white sheet covering him. The child was dead. He’d been thrown from the truck, and probably died instantly.’

My husband returned to the ambulance, where the man was focused on that truck. ‘He wouldn’t shut up about it,’ my husband said. ‘Is it okay? Can I still drive it?’ My husband told me that he had to step away, that he looked at the accident victim, saw the dead child, heard more of the man’s ridiculous questions until he couldn’t listen anymore.

‘I was so angry with him,’ my husband said. ‘I’d never been angry with a patient before. That was a new feeling, and very strange. I hated feeling that way, but I was really upset with him. Your little boy is dead, I thought. How in the world can you worry about a stupid truck?’

My husband said it was only later, long after he’d left the injured man at the hospital and flown home that understood. The man knew his little boy was dead. He knew about that tiny body in the median, his son resting under a sheet. He knew it was his driving, his truck that had killed the boy. On his back, in the rear of that ambulance, and badly injured himself, he had to think of something besides his dead son. He had to focus his mind on ‘that stupid truck’ or he couldn’t go on. The battle he was fighting would have overwhelmed him.

My husband wishes now, many years later, that he’d been kind that night, instead of judgmental, and angry. He wishes he’d understood what was really happening at that accident site, where a man had lost his truck, and his son, and almost his own life.

‘He’d received the best medical attention there was to give.’ My husband says. ‘He’d gotten the fastest response, the best intervention, and the best expertise we could bring to him. It would have been a gift beyond measure if he’d also received the tincture of human kindness from me, from all of us.’

Everyone is fighting a battle we know nothing about. Be kind, always. 

Mariah Edgington
Mariah Edgingtonhttps://www.mariahedgington.com/
Mariah Edgington, BSN, RN: Retired Critical Care/ER nurse, Author, Professional Speaker, Content Creator, Transformational Mindset Mentor, NurseDeck Ambassador, Contributor: BizCatalyst 360°, Medium. Mariah has now transitioned into a supporting role of encouraging people to live the best version of themselves. As a Transformational Mindset Mentor, she mentors those who want to Harness the Power Within and take their lives to the next level. “Own Your Value” and “You Are More Than Enough” are two of her primary messages. She wants everyone to know that their lives are of value, and they are worthy of life. That there’s a better brighter life calling, encouraging everyone to have the courage to capture that life. Mariah co-authored, Journey Well, You Are More Than Enough, (RE)Discover Your Passion, Purpose, & Love of Yourself & Life  with her husband, Byron. It’s available on her website, along with the accompanying Guidebook, Online Course, and Gratitude Journal. See Mariah's social media channels above.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Welcome Mariah,
    A powerful story here to greatly remind us that there is always a story we do not know.
    There’s a lot to be said about the great feelings of guilt, remorse and perhaps forgiveness, when we realize there is no merit to what we are thinking. The pictures we see can tell a thousand stories. Like perception, we all see differently, and we all cope differently too
    Thank you for this valuable lesson. And thanks to your husband for sharing this too.
    Here’s a little drop for you 😀🙏
    “Assumptions are
    Presumptions
    About which you
    Know Nothing”
    #Opism

  2. What a valuable, heart-wrenching, and well-told story, Mariah. Even though it happened to your husband, and you were telling it second-hand, I was right there with him, walking in his shoes, feeling what he felt — both bad and good. How many times have we each said to ourselves or to others, “It was only later that I understood …” and felt a deep pang of regret about that, for not having been able to understand something so important in the moment? And so of course it always pays — both others and ourselves — to err on the side of kindness. Thank you for the reminder, and for sharing this story with us.

  3. Thank you Mariah for sharing this touching story. I felt my throat clench and tears forming in my eyes while reading it. I really wish everyone would learn this skill of being kind. I am working on non-judgement myself and it’s damn hard! At least I am becoming aware of the moments of judgement. We are all doing the best we can.

  4. Oh Mariah, what a beautiful and heart opening story!
    These are the stories we need to hear to remind us of what we already know but perhaps have forgotten. It has taken me years to fine tune my own personal mantra when my judgement thinking creeps in… “I am not here to judge – but to only observe”. #bekind #judgenot

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