The ordinary offers the best lessons. On Sunday, we ventured to a local Mediterranean place to eat lunch. After a twenty-minute wait, we crowded into a booth in the back of the restaurant. Our daughter grabbed the menu, corralled the crayons, and began to color the drawing on the back. A few minutes later, after she grew bored, we played a game of tic-tac-toe. In the background, waitresses balanced dishes on the palms of their hands, delivered lemonade, soda, and ice tea, and tables were filled with serious conversation, laughter and a litter of people plugged into their iPhones.

At the table that sat next to us, I observed a little boy, probably no older than 8 years old.  His ears were covered with blue headphones and it appeared that he looked at his iPad. I saw him move his hands in a flitting motion and assumed he was engaged in an intense video game. His mom sat next to him and she talked to her lunch companion, laughing and eating simultaneously. I told my husband to look at the little boy and even said, “It’s all about survival. If  this Mom needs to use an iPad so that she is able to enjoy a meal with her friend, so be it.” My husband thought the little boy acted silly since his hands brushed up and down in all different directions.

My daughter grabbed my attention, by saying, “Look, Momma, the food is here.” We began eating our meal and all of sudden, my eyes, once again, gravitated toward the little boy. He searched for something nearby and seconds later, I watch as he grabbed a white stick. He pulled it out, extended his hands so that he could reach for the table, and his mother said, “Watch out, honey, there are people in front of you. You may want to move to the right.”

I paused and said to my husband, “Oh my goodness. That little boy is blind.” Tears hit my eyes with this realization. So often we mistake what we see as the ultimate truth. Over and over again, I am reminded that what I perceive is never absolute. There is always an untold story and hidden struggle. This little boy’s face stayed with me for much of the day. It reminded me how much in our daily lives we live in misinterpretations. We make assumptions and decisions based on a fraction of what we believe we see and know.

This little boy reminded me of Plato’s quote, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”  

I learned this truth in the most unexpected place on a Sunday afternoon.