A Walk in My Shoes

What is your response when someone rudely cuts you off in traffic?  How do you feel toward a bad-mannered waitress who spills your coffee? How easy is it to get frustrated with an impossible co-worker? I dare say that it is rather easy to pass judgments.

But would your feelings change if you knew that the reckless driver was a frantic mother rushing her sick baby to the hospital?  Would you feel differently toward a waitress who you found out was holding down two jobs while trying to provide for three small children and a disabled husband?  Would you view your co-worker with compassion if you learned that his beloved wife was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer?  

So many times we go through life with fixed ideas about those around us.  Our preconceived notions lead us to judge their behavior and circumstances.  But judgments cease when we get a true glimpse into their lives.  When we take the time to look past ourselves and listen to their pains and hurts, we are often faced with a stark reality.  The reality is that until we have walked in their shoes we truly cannot understand.

I shared a few days ago about an upcoming movie, “A Walk in My Shoes.”  Today I pre-screened the movie.  It is the latest installment in Wal-Mart and Procter & Gamble’s Family Movie Night.  Having seen their other two movies I expected the same, family friendly with no foul language and a standard plot.  While I liked the other movies they were not overly dynamic.  I would equate them to a “feel good” type of movie, not a “make a difference” movie.  However, I was pleasantly surprised by “A Walk in My Shoes”.   This movie makes you reflect upon your life, which in my opinion is always a good thing.

The story revolves around a high school teacher named Trish.  She comes across as a self-centered business woman who is unresponsive to her husband and out of touch with her children.  She is harsh toward a seemingly unmotivated student named Justin and judgmental toward his mother.  After wrecking her car Trish wakes to find herself living the life of the same woman she rashly criticized, Justin’s mother, Cindy.  In the midst of the story we also find Jake, a Marine who is painfully adjusting to civilian life and a mysterious stranger named Molly who disappears as quickly as she appears.  While it is never spoken, we are left with the impression that Molly is an angel.  Her mission is to teach Trish a valuable lesson in walking in someone elses shoes for a while.

My negative thoughts were few but still worth mentioning.  First, as with the previous “Family Night” movies I notice the children in the films are very disrespectful toward their parents.  This is clearly due to bad parenting and is never addressed.  By the end of the movie the children’s attitudes change but what does not change is the fact that the issue of dishonor is not properly dealt with.  Also, the movie is not a Christian film so as one could expect the music and clothing in the movie is secular.   

While the movie is not Christian based there is a small reference to God when a boy asks, “Do you believe in God?”  The answer is in the affirmative.  He then says, “Where was God when my Dad died?” To which the response was given, “Right beside him.”  On a positive note, I felt like the movie showed marriage and family in a very positive light as well as the military.  The movie succeeds in realistically dealing with some tough issues like financial worries, being evicted, troubled families, war, and grief.

“A Walk in My Shoes” is a movie that I will watch again.  It airs this Friday night on local NBC affiliates. You don’t want to miss it, but if you do, a special DVD release of the film is planned for Saturday at Wal-Mart.