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It's our human interactions that formulate our environment and character

By: Lacy Hilliard
Tomahawk Writer/Photographer

Life is a bit like walking a tightrope while hidden opponents hurl leaden objects in our general directions. At any given moment anything can happen. These happenings can threaten our sense of security or better it. Change is inevitable. Each day, we pass by each other blindly. We rarely take note of strangers or acknowledge that we’re walking through this beautiful, horrible, wonderful, intense, and surreal journey together. The indifference aside, we certainly don’t lack opinions as to how others should be living their lives and we rarely pause in passing a premature judgment based on assumptions or predetermined notions.
We judge each other based on appearance. When we see someone that’s wearing clothing that looks worn and tattered we might make the assumption that they’re poor. Perhaps the real story is that the person is dressed in less than stellar clothing because they spent the day volunteering at Habitat for Humanity and they didn’t want to ruin their good clothes. If we happen upon someone that we deem exceptionally attractive we might assume that their outward beauty has provided them with an easier path through life when in reality the person has struggled through a lifetime of getting people to look past the beautiful exterior and instead appreciate what’s on the inside.
We judge each other based on wealth or lack thereof. A common assumption is that people that live below the poverty level are lazy or uneducated. However, financial security can be the most fickle of stabilities. The loss of a job or an illness can easily hurl even the most comfortable financial status into uncertainty. We judge people of vast wealth and assume that they’re materialistic and lack real life experience because they couldn’t possibly have any real problems. But perhaps if we paused a moment we’d realize that they too have suffered life’s unexpected sting.
We judge each other under the guise of religion. It’s easy to say that someone is living their life wrong because their actions don’t coincide with God’s will and testament. We have vocal political opinions about violent crime and abortion but so few of us are willing to get down in the trenches and act through God’s love rather than his judgment.
The human interactions in our life are the ones we remember. Being a mother, father, brother, sister, daughter, son or friend is what sticks. The way we treat each other can bring about the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows. But no matter how troublesome these relationships can be at times, when they’re good, there’s nothing that makes life more worth living. I wonder why so few of us strive to form as many as possible. So often we walk through life so afraid of reaching out to someone that doesn’t fit our view of perfection personified.
What if instead of briskly walking past the mother that’s struggling to load her three kids into the car while juggling a cart full of groceries, we extend our hand and offer to unload her goods while she corrals them into their car seats? What if the next time someone cuts us off we refrain from shaking our fist at them and blaring our horn in frustration? What if the next time you leave the drive-thru only to realize your fries never made their way to the bag, you decide that instead of yelling at the employee for making a mistake, you choose to offer a sentiment like “Wow, you guys are busy today. I hope you get a break soon. Have a good day.”

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