In university I was an English major. We were taught to take note of “irony,” especially in plays by Shakespeare. Many times the audience is aware of something that the actors in their roles do not know. This adds a special kind of humour to the words that are spoken and actions that are done out of clear ignorance.
For example, someone who knows just a little bit about me would perhaps be shocked that I have and wear a fur coat on cold winter days. How could an advocate of simple living be so extravagant? What that person may not know is that I have been wearing that same coat for 20 years; it was given as a reward for my labours at my parents’ mink farm to that point.
Some patrons of the food bank where my husband works may appear, on the surface, not to be needy. This can cause potential donors to grumble and feel that the system is being abused. But as my husband often says, “Nobody wakes up in the morning and proudly says to himself, ‘I’m going to the food bank today.’” A patron who drives a nice car pulls into the parking lot to get food. She seems well off and well dressed. However, she confides in a food bank employee that she never thought she would come to get food assistance. Her professional husband left her, and she has no access to bank accounts or cash. She cannot eat her car or her fine clothes, so in an emergency she comes for help. Another patron has a dog; one might say he would save money if he had to feed only himself. Yet having a canine companion makes living alone bearable for this man. One more patron receives a lay-off notice and admits that he has been living the “Canadian lifestyle”—living from paycheque to paycheque. In the three weeks it takes for his employment insurance payments to begin, he truly is destitute.
Since I have been on the receiving end of judgments based on ignorance, I’m trying to be more careful not to draw negative conclusions about others. God knows the whole story, and I can leave it to Him.