Polly and I went to Ontario County Park to walk some trails. It was our first time and we found the trail guide confusing.
He was a grandfather walking with two children, perhaps ages 9 and 11. He was over six feet tall, a shine of white stubble circled his head, sloped shoulders rolling under a faded shirt, baggy shorts and saggy legs. He had a welcoming grin. He moved slowly, as if walking from the kitchen to the living room.
"Excuse me, but are you familiar with this park? We are looking for the 'Jumping Off Point.'"
"We are going there. I'll show you." I thought, "Great!" ... initially.
Grandfather gave us a history of Ontario County, South Bristol, Naples and grape pies. When the young ones distracted him we were delivered from his kindness. Polly said, "Now you know how your children feel when they ask you a question."
Ha ha ha.
Polly was right and her gentle humor exposed me. I would've been grateful for one decisive pointed finger. I wasn't interested in all the land along Route 64. Grandfather, I felt, had wasted my time. I bristle when someone wastes my time. Or, at least, when I think someone wastes my time.
I am probably not the most discerning judge about wasting time. Grandfather was kind. He was taking his grandchildren for a walk. They seemed to enjoy the man. Why couldn't I?
There are too many answers for a single blog post. But the main reason is that I did not see the man. I saw a dispenser of information God had put on that trail that day for me. Did I even see a person? In my impatience, probably not.
I need to see a person as a person. I need to see a person before I jump to seeing them for what they can do for me. I need to see less of me and more of others. God help me, but I've got a long way to go on this particular trail.