Christmas Countdown: The “Make No Judgement” Ornament

There is a saying that people come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. I truly believe in this statement. We may not realize the reason in the moment, however, in reflection the picture usually becomes clear. I am reminded of this as I look at today’s ornament.

Several years ago, my husband and I went on a Caribbean cruise. As cruises do, although more flexible now days, we were assigned at a dinner table for 10. On the first evening, eight of us had arrived on time and started to introduce ourselves and get to know one another. Approximately about 20 minutes late, the last couple strolled up to the table. Now keep in mind, the four couples at the table were Caucasian and the last couple was an African-American couple.

The man was large and in a loud colored suit and his wife was beautifully decked out. It was apparent that they looked a little uncomfortable as they sat down. In seeing this, I immediately introduced myself and started asking them questions to help put them at ease. After a few minutes, everyone else jumped in and by the end of the meal, we were sitting at the loudest table from all our laughter.

My husband and I immediately bonded with this couple. We ended up taking many shore excursions with them and spent every evening talking over drinks. As they became more comfortable with us, it was later revealed that the reason they were late to dinner that first night was because they were so uncomfortable at the first table they were assigned, they asked to be moved. They then thanked us for making them feel welcome and comfortable when they arrived at our table. This is a couple that has faced some discrimination and, at that moment I realized, we never know what someone is going through unless we walk in their shoes.

Through our conversations, this couple learned that I collect ornaments from all my travels. While on an excursion in St. Thomas, they came walking up to me with a package in their hands and presented me with this ornament. They made the statement that every year when I put it on my tree, I should think of them…..and every year I do. We kept in touch with this couple for years, even taking another trip with them to Las Vegas, but we have since lost touch. Although this couple turned out to be friends for just a “season”, I will always remember them and remember the lesson that I learned that we must never make judgements on what we do not know.

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