A few days ago my wife and I were at the Little League ball fields getting ready to watch a couple kids from church play “blast ball.” In case you don’t know what that is (I didn’t until a couple weeks ago), it is a form of t-ball. The batter hits the ball off the tee (as well as a four-year-old can), and must reach first base, which is also the only base (and it honks when stepped on!), before someone from the opposing team, in a flury of little arms and legs, retrieves the ball, raises it high in the air, and shouts, “BLAST!”
Anyway, as Sara and I were walking toward the bleachers we were greeted by a baseball that landed harmlessly but uncomfortably near us. Two gentlemen were practicing pitching and hitting in the space between two fields, and the balls were flying towards bleachers, and cars, and families in lawn chairs. One such ball very nearly hit one such family, and the father in that family had all he could take. He stood up, spun around, and said in a very stern and angry voice, “That better not happen again, or we will have a problem.” His cool-headed wife proceeded to suggest that the two men practice on the adjacent field, which was not being used…and they did.
I would not want to have been that angry father when the rest of the crew that these men were playing with showed up: they were all (including these two men) mentally handicapped. They just didn’t know any better. And, although he could have handled the situation more positively, that father didn’t know any better, either…because, just like you and me, he is not a mind-reader.
We are quick to judge other people, though. We don’t know their motives or reasons for the things they do, but we assume they must be evil, ignorant, or just plain dumb. And we react appropriately…or inappropriately, as the case may be.
So, I have a possible solution. The next time someone does something that angers you, ask them to pick a number between one and one million. If you guess right, then you must be a mind-reader, and are officially qualified to vent your righteous indignation. Otherwise, I suggest keeping your cool and trying to find out what you can do to help this person that hurt you.
Can you guess what number I’m thinking of? Hint: it rhymes with pen.