I don’t like skateboards.

I know, I know, I sound like a stuffed shirt. Basically, I’ve almost been run over  several times by boys riding them, and it’s ruined my view of them. Plus they are loud on the sidewalks, and when they are coming up behind me, I can’t tell which way they are coming. It just sounds like a stampede.

It makes me feel skittish.
This is my thought as I boarded the bus for the ride home, as I noticed the young man across from me with his skateboard. I wanted to roll my eyes in frustration.  Here was another ruffian, not caring about anyone else, just wanting room for his noisy, obnoxious piece of wood on wheels.
Then he pulled a black journal from his dusty backback.
He began to write.
The boy with the skateboard is a writer.
Not what I expected at all.
And then I felt ashamed at judging him based on his mode of transportation.

Isn’t that how it is?

We see the outside and frown. We take a cursory glance and disapprove. We assume we know what’s going on and the truth is we don’t.

I wonder what he was writing.
Was it an essay for class? Was it poetry? Was it private thoughts that no one else will ever read? Does he have to hide it from a sibling?
Jesus said, “Do not judge by the outward appearance.”
God told Samuel, “Man looks on the outward appearance but the Lord looks at the heart.”
I’m bombarded every day with news and social media and opinions, asserting to me that this person is good or that person is bad. Too often, these assertions are based on a passing overview of the person, and not on a genuine understanding of who they are. It just takes too much time to dig in and have a relationship with someone. It’s easier to make a snap judgment and move on.
I’m tired of this trend I see in myself.
I see the harsh criticism in my heart. I want to be gentler and kinder. I want to have an encouraging word for each one I meet.
Because, who knows…
The boy writing in the black journal on the bus may be the next Thoreau or Shakespeare. Maybe he’s waiting for someone to notice.
I certainly did today. It softened my heart.
I’ve completely forgotten why I don’t like skateboards.
Now, they don’t seem so bad.

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