Growing up, I often heard a common phrase used in my mother culture: “homes are secrets.” This was often the go-to response when anyone verbalized a judgment about how others live their lives and the choices they make. Eastern cultures are known for their emphasis on community, but there is also a sacred element of privacy in the understanding that nobody knows what happens behind closed doors.
Each of us has a path to discover, and the revelations do not end until our lives end. Perhaps, there will even be more to discover after death. Our time in this world is so fleeting, a blip in the collective human memory. Why are we so keen on spending this precious time judging others?
If I’ve learned anything over the course of the past two years, as my Facebook feed started erupting with international stories of my friends’ milestones and setbacks, it is that we all do things differently. Some of us value education. Some value travel. Some value homes. Some value big weddings. Some value marriage. Some value being single. Some value wealth. Some value luxury cars. Some value huge book collections. Some value work. Some value retirement.
The bottom line is: everyone does life differently, and that is the beauty of it.
So… when someone, anyone, walks into my house and asks: “Why are you doing this and that?” My reflexive response is… “I don’t understand. Why is what I am doing your business?” No, I don’t often verbalize this unless I get the question too often from the same person and I get angry, but it’s definitely what I’m thinking.
In return, when I walk into someone else’s house, I don’t question their decisions or give my opinions unless I’m asked. Common courtesy. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all. You know… the basic things your mama taught you.
Case in point: Don’t walk into my house and ask me why I have so many crosses on my wall, then give me a speech about how Catholicism is idolatry and offer to take me to your place of worship. You will be kicked out so fast it will make your head spin!
What we focus our energy on is what thrives most in our lives. Choose to focus your mind on things that will yield fruit. Don’t waste too much time looking at what everyone else is doing, envying, judging, or worrying about them. Homes are secrets. Be observant, learn from others, but don’t become consumed by thought over their choices and decisions, even if they are your own children. Each of us has to walk our own path, and discover what works best for us.
And guess what… not only are there many ways and an infinite selection of destinations; more importantly: no one way is the right way. There is only what is right for you, and what is right for me.
And remember… we design our own luck!