July 12, 2017
This past week I have had one word reverberating throughout me every day. It would just find a way to slip into everything I did (by “slip in” I mean Jesus stood next to me and whispered the word over and over until my stubborn self listened). It kept appearing on my social media timelines and especially during my Bible reading. It even came up in a few conversations. I couldn’t and still cannot escape it. I woke up this morning with this word in my brain and a desire to write something about it. This word is perspective.
I usually think about perspective in a writing-related way. Example: This story is told from third person perspective. Or: The protagonist’s perspective is different from the antagonist’s. As I’ve been faltering in my desires to write and my desires to read, this word has wiggled its way out of my vocabulary for a little while now. It’s been seeping back in through a different way.
Perspective is defined as a point of view. It’s the way you see something or the attitude you have towards it. Usually, people have differing perspectives about one situation. That’s because everybody comes from different places with different situations impacting their lives. You’re more likely to agree with someone or see a situation from their perspective if you have had a similar experience to them. Two friends who have had a fight and walked away from each other will see two different things when they look back, but at the core of it is a similar understanding. The thing about looking back is having the ability to look forward and to look at the right now, because perspective works in different ways.
Perspective isn’t just one side of the story. Perspective is every single side. It’s waking up in the morning and not wanting to go to work. But WAIT. Aren’t you lucky (blessed) to have that job? Couldn’t you have a job that you absolutely, completely despise with every part of your being? Yeah, you could. Things could be so different from what they are in your life right now. Things could be worse, yes, but they could also be better. It’s all about your perspective. (Are you sick of this word yet? 😉 )
I’m very guilty of not wanting to go to work and being ungrateful for the job that I have. Today was one of those days where my foot hurt (See: Pulled muscle in right foot and wearing a boot for 3 weeks while trying to shelve picture books on the bottom shelf.) and my jeans were too tight and the library was too busy for my taste. I was very ungrateful today. Give me some perspective, would you? Em, look back on today’s shift and see how you could have made it better for yourself. Well, I could’ve been grateful that the reason my foot hurt is only because of a pulled muscle. I could’ve been grateful that people want to come to the library and keep us open thus keeping me employed. I could’ve told myself to be happy that you have a job while others have trouble finding one. There are so many things I could’ve said to myself.
Regardless of my feelings in those bad moments, I know that the job that I have is the best job I could have had for this past year at home. Sometimes it’s hard, but what job isn’t? At the end of this job, I will look back and see more good times than I will bad. These are little moments that I tuck away to remember the next time my foot hurts and small children are hell-bent on pulling every single book off the shelves.
Sometimes I get too comfortable in the way that I think. I get stuck with the “poor me” mindset. I forget to acknowledge the people around me and the struggles they’re facing. I think changing your perspective is like breaking out of your comfort zone. How can you see anything else if you’re trapped inside a tiny bubble that only has tunnel vision? I’ve certainly gotten too comfortable with that tunnel vision this past year of my life.
At this time a year ago, I had decided to stay home from college. I had decided that that wasn’t what God wanted for me (i.e. to be in debt and “do what everybody else was doing”). I think I looked a little too far into my fear for that one, but overall, this past year at LCCC earned me more than just an Associate’s Degree. I wouldn’t exchange this past year for a year away at a 4-year university because though it kept me comfortable, it gave me the extra few months I needed to be able to say that I’m ready to step out of my comfort zone.
It’s all a learning process, my friend. We all do the best we can to learn what we need.
I’m still learning how to put one foot in front of the other and walk confidently in the direction that I want to go in. Heck, I’m still deciding the direction I want to go in. I thought I knew, but what happens when that tunnel vision breaks and you see more of what the world has to offer? You go back to square one, you start learning, and you do the best you can. Also, you pray pray pray. Jumping out of that comfort zone means I’m leaning on God like I’ve never leaned before. Like a full my-body-is-attached-to-the-wall kind of lean. All of my weight is there. All of it.
I’m constantly fighting to remember perspective. I’m constantly fighting to remember that I’m not the only human on the planet. There’s so much power behind perspective and remembering that others hold it, too. I have to teach myself to remember these things, and hopefully, someday, I will reach a point where it comes naturally. That is, at least, my goal.
“And so, God willing, we will move forward to further understanding.”