Interesting the way we view things sometimes. I thought about this when I read the following story on a friend’s Facebook post.
A couple moved into a new neighborhood, and the next morning, while eating breakfast, the woman sees her neighbor hanging the wash out to dry.
“That laundry is not very clean,” she commented to her husband. “She doesn’t know how to wash correctly. Or, perhaps, she needs better laundry soap.”
Her husband looked out at the neighbor but said nothing.
A few weeks went by, and each time the neighbor hung her wash out to dry the woman made the same comment. Each time, her husband remained silent.
Then, one day the woman was surprised to see a nice clean wash on the line and said to her husband, “Look, she’s finally learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her?”
This time, the husband spoke. “I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows.”
So it is in life. What we see when observing others depends on the clarity of the window through which we are looking.
More often than we think, perhaps, when we are watching others and making judgments and evaluations, we are watching through a dusty or dirty window. Whatever is on the window dims or discolors our view, and we reach wrong conclusions. Knocking the dust or grime off the window, though perhaps a painful experience (pun intended), clears the window as well as our view.
With the window cleaned, what we see is clearer and seemingly different from what had been our view. Yet the view is the same. It isn’t the wash being hung out that has changed; it is the window through which we are viewing.
When I read this brief allegory, I couldn’t help but wonder how many people I have misjudged, how many times I have formed wrong opinions about others because what I was viewing was being filtered through a dirty or grimy window.
If we are to relate fairly to others and understand them as they truly are, we need to be sure we have cleaned the windows through which we are observing them.
My spring cleaning this year may need some window washing. Does yours?