Dr. Ray Augenstein
There is an old Indian adage, that says “Don’t judge a man until you have walked a mile in his moccasins.
You don’t know me. You don’t know the tears I cry, or what makes me happy. You don’t understand the struggles I go through, or the heartache I have known. You don’t know what makes me who I am. For better or for worse, the things in my life have formed me into what I have become. The limp in my leg, did you know it came from having polio when I was a kid and suffering, not able to walk for a year? Did you know that I have had about a dozen surgeries, and died on the operating table? Yet I keep on. Did you know I had a gastric by-pass, cried over my weight, went on 140 different diets, but the weight still stays? If you have a magic pill let me know.
For an example, I pulled into the parking place, clearly marked Handicap parking only. I exited my vehicle, and started walking toward the store, when a car pulled up behind mine, the man, (I hesitate to call him a Gentleman) started yelling that, that was for handicapped people only. I proceeded to indicate to him my license plate which is a handicap plate, only then did he move on. As I proceeded into the store I couldn’t help but think, how often people are quick to judge someone.
I have spinal problems that keep me from walking more than a few feet without pain. I have to park close to the door, and use an electric cart to do my shopping.
When I first exited my vehicle, I may have seemed to be alright, but it only lasts for a few steps, I am resolved to keep on trying, and not give up.
I have even remarked, myself, that a certain person didn’t look handicapped, but oh how looks can be deceiving.
I remember when I was growing up that we had a man in our town that walked as if he was drunk. He had a hard time forming his words, and kept to himself alone in his neglected house. The children in town would laugh at him and make fun of him because of his condition. One day, my dad caught us, and took us aside. He told us that the man we were making fun of had been in the war.
He was a prisoner of the Japanese and was tortured, with many injuries resulting, including brain injuries.
The way he walked and talked was a result of those injuries. We were a little more respectful and kind after that.
I know a young man, who had a mother with MS. The mother was not able to tend to her child very well, so the boy put on his clothes the best he could, made his own breakfast, but was ridiculed by other children who didn’t understand. It wasn’t that this young man didn’t care. He was not able to do anything about his situation.
Did you know that lady sitting on her porch, all alone not talking to anyone, was a wife who lost 4 of her children to a genetic disorder and a husband to an industry accident? She is not a mental case. People are too quick to judge another based upon the outward appearances.
We need to be more tolerant, more compassionate, more understanding, and less judgmental and condemning.
I like what is said, “There but for the grace of God go I.
Dr. Raymond Augenstein PhD. Born in Michigan. Served in the US.Navy as a yeoman attached to the CID. Attended Bible college in California after military service. Became Pastor, Evangelist, Gospel recording artist. Continued studies to become a licensed counselor. Earned a Doctorate Degree from The University of Michigan, after retiring from 42 years in the ministry. Formerly Supervisor of Hayes Township.