I like to work things out in my mind. I like to ponder and consider and muse and deliberate until I think I have an understanding of a situation. I like to reason and reflect on the actions of others and try to “walk a mile in their shoes” before I let my heart or mind become judgmental. I also analyze my own behavior and often ask myself why I did something, especially something I’m not particularly pleased to have done.
I’m usually quite good at pondering. God blessed me with the ability to examine diverse viewpoints and actions, and express ideas and opinions about them in ways that I hope are helpful and even comforting. However, as I get older I realize that I will probably go to my grave without understanding a few things about people.
One of the things I will never understand is how anyone can willfully, deliberately hurt a stranger. There are daily reports about such happenings, but the most recent one about an elderly man being robbed at knifepoint by a person who asked to use the phone is one of the worst. I fully understand hurting a friend or relative or spouse or even a colleague. Someone you know personally can irritate you and anger you to the point where you are no longer thinking clearly. Most people who die violently are actually killed by someone they know. It’s the “heat of the moment” action. I get that. But to just randomly pick someone to take advantage of, to harm for money or other gain, is beyond my comprehension. And obviously this was a person who was just trying to be accommodating. He opened his door to a stranger who alleged that he was in need of help. Thankfully he wasn’t killed.
That brings up another thing I don’t understand- stealing. I still recall stealing a toy from a friend when we were in kindergarten. It was something she brought for “show and tell” and I managed to get my little hands on it. Her reaction caused such heartbreak and anguish that I never tried such a thing again! I had taken things from my brothers and hidden them until mom made me give them back, but I guess I never really cared about hurting their feelings because I was obligated to be their sister. Hurting someone I had chosen to like and befriend was a burden beyond bearing. I gave back the toy because I felt empathy for my friend. And that experience taught me that anyone, even my brothers, felt hurt and betrayed when something was taken from them. Lesson learned.
I know from experience and research that most people try stealing something at a very early age. But most people experience what I did- a profound remorse that prevents them from repeating their actions. I have two children in my class right now who steal things- from me, from classmates- repeatedly and without remorse. Despite getting caught, regardless of the reaction from their victim or punishment from me, they will probably continue to steal. I don’t understand it, but I have seen it before. One of my former students went from blatantly stealing toys in my classroom to stealing his first car when he was in the eighth grade. The last I heard of him was when he went to prison. Never learned his lesson.
There are other things I’ll never understand, but I’ll save those for another day. Sometimes one or two concepts are enough for pondering in one day.