I love it when I ‘get’ something… fully in my cells.   Prior to our recent holiday to Bali I actually would have said that I was not a judgemental person.  I tend to love everyone and I hold the belief that “anything other than love is a cry for help”  However, I had a huge lesson about this word “judgement” …and here it is.

I used to be a smoker – many moons ago … and they say ex smokers are the worst!

So here we are in Bali, laying on our sun lounges, swimming, reading etc…when a woman takes the seat right next to us and begins to smoke… not just now and then but chain smoking  consistently.  I was NOT happy!  In fact I actually went to my room instead, grumbling to myself about people who don’t consider others!!!!!

The following day we spread out more… over 4 seats, all alongside each other (2 for me in the shade and 2 for Robert in the sun).  And there she was again.  She took the next chair along, so now she was 3 chairs away from me and still the smoke enveloped me like a thick fog and again, I was not happy and still grumbling to myself. 

Then a friend of ours who’d talked with her told me she was a doctor.   Up came my judgement yet again.   I’d been saying previously “Ah well, she’s from Europe and lots of Europeans smoke” which they do!  Now it was “OMG she is a DOCTOR, supposedly teaching people about the dangers of cigarettes”.

I observed myself in my judging and while I was pretty mortified, I actually think I was quite happy in my judgement really!  After all I had quit and yes it had been hard, but I had done it!   

One day I was in the pool and she swam over to me and began chatting.   Turns out she is not just any doctor, she is a surgeon… with the International Red Cross.   For 12 long years she has been in war torn countries, currently Syria, attempting to save and put back together wounded and broken people! She told me how some days they work 21 hours a day straight, sometimes with no electricity, sometimes operating on a floor or a kitchen table.  No running water for showers so she said they all stink!   How, when they get 3 days off, they fall into bed and sleep for 48 hours straight, in a bed that doesn’t get the sheets changed because the doctors rotate and how sometimes it is much less because they get called back to work earlier.  How sometimes she is faced with a lot of bodies and her momentary choice has to be… who can she save, never mind that a woman with a child dying in her arms, is begging this surgeon to save her child, but she knows now who she can and can’t help.. and it may not be the child!  So she has to move on to the one she can save.  She said she has no family because in her job you can’t have one as you may not live through the day! 

By the end of our conversation I was humbled totally.   I told her how much the world appreciates people like her and I thanked her from the bottom of my heart! 

I swam back to my precious chair and thought to myself….  yet again…. we never know why people do what they do, but generally it’s from pain, loss etc and what I know was that if I was in her shoes, I may well be smoking!   So my huge lesson was learned and fully integrated into my cells (I pray!)  She can smoke all she likes if that is what gives her the courage and resilience to keep doing what she does in order to save lives!