It snowed again. I watched the flakes turn from tiny, wet ones to large, perfectly shaped individual geometric patterns. I got caught up in thoughts of how perspective is everything. It made me think of the Jim Carrey movie -How the Grinch Stole Christmas – and the Whoville town that lived within a single snowflake.
Those thoughts led me to ones about this huge earth on which I live. And how, in the entirety of all the space and universes and stars, I am a pin dot on a tiny little geometric shaped world, so small in the vastness of space.
Yet, here I am. I matter. I’m important to those who love me or depend upon me. I cannot do everything I want to do, but I can do something. I can help. Mother Theresa said it beautifully:
I can’t do great things. But I can do small things with great love.
So – these snowflakes got me to thinking about the big world, from my point of view; the tiny little world from One who can see all the worlds and stars and suns; and how perspective is, honestly, so important.
While Charles Schultz, through his Peanuts cartoons, observed:
I think I’ve discovered the secret of life – you just hang around until you get used to it
There’s a lot more to the space you and I take up, isn’t there? We learn so much and we experience many different things. We go through heart break and heartache and headaches. We feel joy and utter devastation; abundance and loss; confidence and the shattering feelings of over-the-top inadequacy. Well, at least I have felt these variations in life patterns. Wow… what a schooling mortality offers.
Perspective is one of the beautiful by-products of experience. While I wouldn’t want to relive many harsh, dark times of my life, it’s great to have the more full understanding.
A few examples:
1. I have so much more appreciation and admiration for my mom, now that I’ve gone through more devastating health challenges. She boggled my mind from the time I was fifteen and she first got cancer. Watching her go through operation after operation, complications and strange illnesses that took every drop of faith and strength were more than a nod to her courage and goodness.
But now? Now I have perspective. And more love for her than ever. I hope that, somehow, she knows. One day, when I can see her again, I’ll throw my arms around her and express my heartfelt gratitude for her example and quiet valor.
2. Before I had a major shoulder surgery, when I saw someone in a sling or still dealing with therapy, I’d tell them I was sorry for their pain. I’d then go on my way, caught up in the next encounter. Then I had the surgery. I knew the pain and misery. I felt their own. My words were more like: I am so sorry for your pain! Because I had perspective.
3. As a young mom, tending and teaching four children, I often felt inadequate and overwhelmed. It was frustrating to not be able to get it all right. Only later, when the kids were about grown, and I was visiting a young mother with three little girls, did I gain the perspective. While I listened to her share, through tears and sobs, how small she felt – how upset she was with herself for getting mad at them, or not staying on top of everything – I had a light bulb moment:
Oh! Parenting is not a job that allows us to ‘get it’ while we’re in the middle of it all. It’s the learning – through – experience that gives us wisdom. We aren’t expected to get it all right. Only by virtue of making mistakes and learning from the children do we grow into the kind of person we didn’t even know we could be. I had gained valuable perspective that allowed me to relax. To accept my frailties and more more positively (and less harshly) judge myself as a mom.
Floating through my mind I could see a ticker tape, it seemed. On it were the words to a forgotten quote from Antonio Porchia:
If you do not raise your eyes, you will think that you are the highest point.
4. Lifting my eyes to heaven reminds me that, though I am small and count little in the eternal scheme; yet I am worth so much to my God. Seeing with a more clear lens of faith, most things make more sense. All of it gives me experience. Hopefully, it offers me more patience, perseverance and polishing. Perspective, indeed!
The snowflakes were still falling, and my mind wandered back to conscious thought. It was time to make some dinner. Fixing the meal that evening was more enjoyable than it had been in a while. In my own little kitchen of my own little house; in my good little neighborhood filled with wonderful friends; serving my good husband and son who has recently returned from serving our country, I felt very small in terms of the whole wide world, but larger than life in our little part of it.
Perspective grants me a kind of peace that grows as I do. That’s a really good thing.
And goodness matters.