Saturday, August 02, 2014

Jumping to Conclusions

Loud male voices bounced along the corridor, increasing in volume as the men drew near to our room. Raucous laughter, loose language, and the clearly distinguished ‘F-bomb’ didn’t make for a thrilling prospect for my getting back off to sleep. “Oh Lord, I hope they’re not boarded in the room next to us,” I groaned in silence. It was about 2:15 AM, and occurred a few weeks ago.
We’d experienced disturbances in hotels and motels before. Inebriated revellers are perhaps to be pitied, rather than condemned—yet shouldn’t be excused either, I suppose. That night, my wife and two grandkids slept on, while I lay awake. The noise diminished and then cut to a low level once their room door closed behind them. I offered up a silent prayer for those men and their families.
Now wide awake, I was a long time in getting back off to sleep and drifted into reflection. Many years ago, after a conference meeting had ended, several pastor friends and I enjoyed a time of fellowship over a light meal.
None of us had consumed alcohol, and yet I recall, to my embarrassment, that upon our return to our hotel after midnight, we failed to exercise consideration for other hotel guests. Our loud talk and laughter echoed along the hallways, as we made our way back to our rooms. How many people did we rudely awaken, I wonder?
Back to our recent hotel stay. Continental breakfast was supposed to be available from 6:30 AM, at the area near the front desk. Morning came and we went down at about 7:30. Nothing was set out ready—not even coffee. We learned that the night-desk person had fallen asleep.
While he slept, someone pitched the front desk computer monitor onto the floor, the damage incapacitating the computer system. The monitor and its cable dragged other components down with them and broke cables and connections, incapacitating the system.
The worker who’d dozed on the job was worried about losing his employment, while a computer technician scrambled to get things up and running for business again. Meantime, a growing bevy of guests, ready to head out for the day, anxiously awaited the arrival of food, several showing by their body language they were chomping at the bit.
May and I raised concerns about our personal information; however the clerk assured us that no guest information was taken or lost. Eventually, breakfast was available by 8:30 AM.
Who was responsible for this act of vandalism? Suspicions were voiced that it was an inside job.  I didn’t like my own tendency to wonder whether a member of the late-night rowdies group was responsible; that would be to jump to a conclusion without proof, and constitute prejudice.
Isn’t that a human trait, though? We put two and two together and make five; but who hasn’t fallen into that mode, occasionally?
What points to raise our gaze do we see in this story? Simply: Beware of jumping to conclusions. Did I know for sure that those guys were drunk? The situation reminded me that I’d been party to loud, inconsiderate behaviour towards others, even when alcohol consumption couldn’t be blamed.
Another point is that, regardless of who bore responsibility for the rash act of vandalism, hasty, irresponsible actions can negatively affect a great many people and bring stress into their lives.
Jumping to conclusions. Hmm, that’s my story of a lesson not quite yet learned. Have you encountered a recent incident that impressed a similar lesson on you?
Here are a couple of cautionary verses:
“Do not judge and criticize and condemn others, so that you may not be judged and criticized and condemned yourselves” (Matthew 7:1-2 Ampl.).
“Don't be nitpickers; use your head—and heart!—to discern what is right, to test what is authentically right” (John 7:24 Mssg).

Raise Your Gaze  Family and Faith Matters

Peter’s new book, “Raise Your Gaze . . . Musings of a Grateful Heart,” is due for release in Fall, 2014.

Peter A. Black is a freelance writer in Southwestern Ontario, and is author of “Parables from the Pond” – a children's / family book (mildly educational, inspirational in orientation, character reinforcing). Finalist – Word Alive Press. ISBN: 1897373-21-X. The book has found a place in various settings with a readership ranging from kids to senior adults.

His inspirational column, P-Pep! appears weekly in The Guide-Advocate (of Southwestern Ontario). His articles have appeared in 50 Plus Contact and testimony, and several newspapers in Ontario.



Eleanor Shepherd said...

You are so right about how easy it is to jump to conclusions. We need to put things into context as you remind us so well. Thanks for sharing this, Peter. I hope you are enjoying your summer.

Peter Black said...

Thanks Eleanor.
Yes, I am enjoying the summer - not too hot, so far. The grandkids as well as various volunteer ministry appointments, among other things keep us busy. But then we all have our 'stuff,' and how blessed we are to have health and strength to engage in life.
I trust you and Glen and our BlogSpot team are also enjoying a blessed and safe summer. ~~+~~

Marian said...

Been there and done that. Thanks for being so honest.

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