North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

April 18, 2013

Danielle Cater: One year may change your perspective

Danielle Cater: One year may change your perspective

By Danielle Cater
North Jefferson News

COMMENTARY — Isn’t it amazing to see what a difference a year makes? In just one year, your life can take a totally different shape and direction. Often we are still the same people from year to year, but our situations and circumstances change a lot in only 365 days.

And whether you like it or not, you might actually change a little in a year’s time.

If you looked at my life a year ago and look at it today, you wouldn’t believe the differences that have come along.

Yes, I still have the same job. I still live in the same house. I still have the same car. But my life has taken a full 180-degree turn from this date last year.

It was this week a year ago that a friend of mine passed away at the age of 34 and left us all wondering and questioning about life. If you read my columns every week, then you might remember a column being written last year about not judging a book by its cover. That column was written with this friend in mind. And as I look back over the past 12 months, I can’t help but notice how much my own cover has changed on my book.

I am now married, something I thought I would really never do again. God’s ways are so much higher than our ways and His thoughts are so much higher than our thoughts. He saw me a year ago and already knew that He had the perfect man picked out for my life, I just didn’t notice it then. A year ago I only had two little girls; through this marriage, I now have four little girls who help to make my world a fairytale every time we are all together.

If you were to look at daily schedules a year ago and today, you would probably laugh out loud. I use to spend over an hour working out every morning and count every calorie that I ate throughout the day. Now, I basically eat what I want, and if I can fit it into the day, I go for a walk or hit the elliptical. I’m telling you, a year can make quite a difference to the physical and mental side of things.

But some things do stay the same over the years and the fact that you still shouldn’t judge a book by its cover stands just as true today as it did a year ago.

It’s so easy to look at people’s appearances and make an instant assesment as to who you think they are and what they are like.

I can remember a guy walking into our office several years ago and one of our workers, without a second thought, informed him that the parole office was across the street. He was dressed in skateboarder clothes, had huge gages in his ears and was covered in tattoos. We had many people looking for the parole office back then and he just seemed to fit the bill. But he was there to buy an ad and in that short amount of time, the judgement was made. Of course, the way you dress and the way you carry yourself will have a bearing on what people think about you. But don’t put a stamp on people and shut out the fact that you just might be wrong about that first impression.

I might dress like a punk rocker one day and a general manager of a newspaper the next. So the people who see me punked out automatically think they know what I’m about, but they just haven’t seen the other side of me yet. We never know what people have walked through to get where they are today. We don’t know what their paths have held, so we don’t get the right to judge them. We weren’t put here to judge those around us, just to love them. So take off your judgemental glasses and slip into something a little more comfortable... how about if we put on a coat of acceptance and some glasses of love and see what the world looks and feels like then. Who knows what the next chapter of your life will look like. Don’t be too quick to judge.