I hate to admit it, but I judged him.
No, I didn't say anything, make a face, or do anything anyone could have seen on the surface. But I felt, for just a moment, like he was less than me. And I pray for forgiveness for feeling this way.
I drove slowly through the elementary school drop-off line, dressed up in a jacket and tie, and the kind of shoes that make that clicking sound against the floor, making their wearer feel important and sure of himself.
After my boys got out of my truck and walked toward the entrance, I began pulling away, but had to stop to allow another Dad who was walking his son into the building to cross the drop-off line.
And that's when I felt it.
This man walked slowly, holding his son's hand. His pace was not deliberate; no hurry at all, almost slow enough to appear depressed. He looked sloppy and disheveled, but I'd like to think that wasn't the reason I judged him. After all, we all know better than to judge someone for how they're dressed, right?
I judged him because I assumed from his demeanor that he was embarking upon a day of minimal productivity. I surmised he didn't have much on his docket today, and, for just a moment, I felt superior to him because, of course, my calendar is full, and somehow that makes me better.
Of course, I'm judging an appearance, just as much as if I were judging his clothing. He could actually be busier than me and two of my friends put together for all I know, but that's not the point. And maybe I'm just an arrogant jerk, but that's not the point, either.
The point is, even if this man accomplished nothing more today than to hold his son's little hand, walk him to school, and get his day off to a gentle start, peaceful and prepared, with the knowledge that his Daddy loves him, that is, in the scope of a lifetime, a more meaningful and enduring accomplishment than all the important things on my calendar.
When my sons become men, they won't find comfort in the events my phone reminded me to attend or the things it reminded me to do.
Will they have memories of Dad's hand holding theirs, his agenda only to be present with them?
I bet this other guy's son will.