Judge Not

Most days Millie takes us to her preferred park, favoured mainly because of the squirrel population which she likes to keep on their toes. We’ve got to know the regulars. This particular morning we exchanged greetings with a local dog walker we’d got to know. A young man with 2 dogs, one off the lead and one on. As we passed him he noticed a man coming out of a section fenced off to protect wildlife. He’d left the gate open despite a please shut the gate notice. 

This upset the dog walker who shouted out that the gate should be closed. ‘I’m so sorry’, said the offender, ‘I was miles away’, ‘but I didn’t like the way you poked your finger at me and shouted’. ‘I didn’t point my finger at you. I pointed at the gate’. ‘You didn’t, you pointed at me’.

They were squaring up now. I wondered whether I should intervene just in case they were both alpha males. The offending man had a child with him; he didn’t appear to be alpha, so I judged it safe enough. Moments later, a despairing cry went up. ‘I can’t see Blackie. Can you see where he is?’ I could see Blackie, but in the distance. A elderly low slung Beagle can cover a lot of ground at a steady pace when he’s offended by raised voices, as Blackie clearly was, and I could just see him exiting the park and heading into town.

We ran, or in my case hurried, to the exit but Blackie was long gone. On our way home we encountered his worried owner, an elderly lady we knew who had entrusted him to the dog walker to give her a break. Blackie made it to the town hall for some reason where a passer by saw he was lost and quickly reconciled him with his owner. She’s now found a new dog walker.

There are lessons here which don’t need spelling out. I hope our angry dog walker is a little more focussed these days. We all do silly things; mostly they don’t end in disaster; we learn a lesson and move on. The danger might be that we define ourselves or others by mistakes made in the past. Have I learned the lesson and moved on, or do I keep making the same mistakes over and over? Do we allow other people to move on in our estimate of them?

One thing I have learned is ‘the issue is never the issue’. I don’t know why the dog walker is angry or the other guy reacted so strongly. Perhaps they don’t even know themselves.

Here’s a prayer from Ted Loder to keep us from judging one another.

Oh God, empty me of angry judgements, and aching disappointments, and anxious trying,

And breathe into me quietness and confidence,

That the lion and the lamb in me, and be led by a trust as straightforward as a little child.

Catch my pride and doubt off guard that, at least for the moment, I may sense your presence, and your caring,

And be surprised by a sudden joy rising in me now

To sustain me in the coming then.

Be kind to everyone you meet this week. Be especially kind to yourself.

Photo by Genadi Yakovlev on Pexels.com

9 thoughts on “Judge Not

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    1. Dear Ray, It’s kind of you to write. I’m glad we’re still in touch. I’ll get the address changed. What are you up to these days? it’s been a while since we caught up.


  1. A very lively story followed by a very appropriate prayer. Thank you Daryl for ‘nudging’ a few happy memories of times spent in Hotham Park.


    1. Colin, so lovely of you to comment. Your encouragement means a lot. Les is taking me to a men’s breakfast at St Pancras on Saturday. Needless to say, you are much missed, but that’s in the way of things. Go well.


  2. Your best post yet!! Loved the story … you could make a lot more of this!! Hilarious 🤣

    Sent from my iPhone


    1. Thankyou so much Brenda. You’re a star. Hope you’re both keeping well and enjoying life. It’s a bit of a battle right now for so many. One of my daughter’s is taking us to the Black Rabbit next month. Remembering our time with you, I thought it’s a good place to go. Millie sends her love (she doesn’t actually; she’s as grumpy as ever!)


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