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12 Minutes

Have you ever wondered what a random snapshot of your day would look like to an onlooker?

How would you feel if someone was granted access to a very short, but random part of your day?

Something like that happened to me today. My doctors office called me, but I missed the call because I was in the shower. I called them back and left a message on the nurses line for them to call me back, and hung up. At least…I thought I hung up.

A little while later I was texting my husband from my watch, and I noticed the green phone icon flashing like I was on a phone call. But, I wasn’t…was I? I clicked on it and sure enough…it says 12:36 and going up.

Apparently, while my phone hung up….it got transferred to my watch? I honestly have no idea. But it got me thinking. What on earth has happened in those 12 minutes? If someone were to sit there and listen to the whole thing, realize that the message wasn’t over when I said “thanks, bye”…what would they hear?

In that particular 12 minutes, I started off outside. I was in my chicken coop area checking on the chickens and ducks and trying to fix a hose that had just burst. I went back inside and talked to my mom about a salad I made. I’d asked her to save me some shrimp. Then I went back to my bathroom and finished blow drying my hair. I watched a few minutes of a show, and then started (voice) texting my husband. That’s when I realized that the call was still live.

Now…that was about as benign and boring as it could be, and I am SO grateful for that. I’m grateful that for those exact 12 minutes, that snapshot of my life that someone does have access to…nothing really happened that would sound weird out of context.

But what if it happened 2 hours earlier? What if it happened when my kids weren’t in their beds? Oh boy, let me tell you. Any other snapshot of my day, on any day, and 12 minutes might look very different. What if I had just walked into therapy? What if I had to discipline my 2 year old because, well, he’s a 2 year old? Or what if my husband and I were discussing things I just normally wouldn’t advertise?

The point is, in nearly any other circumstance other than a burst hose, salad, and a blow dryer…I can guarantee I’d have anxiety about this. “What did I say? Did I curse? Did I say something dumb? What did someone say or do around me that I would hate for someone to hear with no context whatsoever?”

It got me thinking. A 12 minute snapshot into any of our lives, no matter what happened during those minutes, says nothing about who we are. Pick any number of “12 minutes” from your day, and think of how different things were at all different points of your day. It would be unfair of anyone to judge or assume anything based off of such a small image.

I’m not at all concerned with my awkward phone call situation, but it just really made me think.

Don’t we all do that to a certain degree? We see a toddler throwing a tantrum in a store, and maybe we judge. We see a man yelling at someone, and again, maybe we’re judging. If we see someone who is maybe being rude, they don’t hold the door, they cut us off in traffic, we form opinions.

We all do it. We form opinions and judgments based off of tiny glimpses of another person. What if they cut you off in traffic because they’re rushing their child to the hospital? Maybe he isn’t just an asshole. Maybe she didn’t hold the door because she is SO wrapped up in her own head that she genuinely had no idea there were others around her.

This is something that I actively try to hold myself accountable for. I’m quite sure people have formed opinions about me too. How could they not, I’m sure I look ridiculous carrying around 2 kids that “should be able to walk”. Maybe that would be your judgment if you saw that. “Why is she carrying those 2 boys when they are clearly old enough and capable of walking?! She’s spoiling them.” Well, maybe my sons have muscular dystrophy and really aren’t as capable of walking as you had assumed.

Even if I had the worst, most embarrassing 12 minutes of my day during that phone call, it shouldn’t be enough for them to form a complete picture of me. I am more than a 12 minute snapshot of my day.

We are all more than we seem to be. And we all deserve to be seen in a complete way, where you tell your story. Not where someone assumes your story based on an instant.

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