You should have seen my face when the nurse told me I had to go home with a catheter. I was less than cheerful. Yet, I obeyed, because what choice did I really have?

Last week’s hysterectomy was a smashing success, minus the bag of my own urine I have had to carry around for the last five days.

God always seems to know the lesson we need to learn and when to teach it. I’m guessing He was trying to teach me about humility. And kindness.

You see, there is something humbling about carrying around your own waste.

But instead of being allowed to feel sorry for myself, it has transported me 575 miles away to my father who has sat with a catheter for nearly 6 YEARS.

It has teleported me back 16 years to my girlfriend’s bedside as she tried to figure out something to eat that would agree with the chemo.

I’m not dealing with a massive medical battle; I’m dealing with an upset stomach.

When we look at it just right, even a sprinkling of difficulty, disappointment or defeat can humble us enough to set us up for kindness.

Suddenly we can see why people might act the way they do. We realize they aren’t out to get us or prove us wrong, they are just doing the best they can given the circumstances.

We remember that everyone has a hidden condition that impairs them in some way. Maybe it’s in their mind. Maybe it’s in their body. Maybe it’s in their heart.

We aren’t the only ones carrying around a bag of waste. Everyone’s got one. We just can’t always see it.

Maybe try this … the next time we experience one of those difficulties, disappointments or defeats, let’s use it as a reminder to give others grace. To extend kindness when we’re ready to pass judgement. After all, we never know what someone is carrying.