"Do now, do now, what you will wish to have done when your moment comes to die." [St. Angela Merici]

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Perspective Matters

By Micky Wolf

It is easy enough for any of us to pigeonhole ideas and things by how they seem to fit, or not fit, based on our particular way of thinking, or our lifestyle. This may be okay to an extent; however, when we begin to believe our sense of something, or someone—our perspective—is mostly right, for whatever reason, we limit our understanding of people and the unique circumstances and character of our human companions, also created in the image and likeness of God.

The view from here

Each of us sees ‘in part’. For example:

…Hearing the sounds of a gentle rain outside the window can soothe a peaceful soul…or it can be cause for alarm to the person standing thigh-deep in mud in a basement as a result of flooding and landslides.

…Savoring the tastes and aromas of a meal of fresh meat, vegetables or fruit can satiate an empty stomach...or can stir a palatable longing in the grocery shopper with only a few dollars in their pocket.

…Brushing away a tear as a news story breaks across the screen with unedited images of broken and bloodied bodies and the violence of war, can release the pain of a compassionate heart…or the weeping can be a cry of the indescribable anguish for the son lost in battle.

…Touching the soft, warm cheek of a newborn can elicit squeals of joy from weary, first-time parents…or it can serve to move others to new depths of hope and trust in God as they face life-threatening issues with a premature infant.

…Noticing stacks of neatly packed boxes near the front door can be a sign of order and repurposing for the family given to generosity and simplicity…or it can be the unavoidable evidence of letting go of the personal effects of the deceased mother or father, husband or wife, who no longer occupy a chair at the dinner table.

Enlarging our awareness

It is so easy to perceive the world from where we sit or stand, work or play, relax or worship. And yet, if we resist the work of God within us to notice, observe—and oftentimes feel—beyond the confines of our own home, community, or belief system, we will miss the many opportunities He provides to Love as Christ loved.

There are numerous choices we can make in a multitude of everyday circumstances and life to enlarge our awareness. Many of these can be simple actions.

Looking at the person or situation that appears ugly or unpleasant and not turning away

Listening to the family member or coworker who seems negative or boring, without getting impatient

Holding the hand of someone in pain, forgoing any need to offer well-intentioned platitudes

Taking time to stop doing what seems so important to us and graciously showing interest in someone else

To be open to enlarging our awareness does not mean we have to relinquish our perspective—it is to be more inclusive and accepting of other ‘views’ which together, with ours, contribute to the bigger picture of the whole of God’s creation and all that inhabits this place of our earthly existence.

If we struggle at times to care or consider what other people are thinking and feeling, recollecting one event in the life of Jesus can go a long way toward helping us enter into loving awareness. As they clung to one another at the foot of Cross, Mary and John gazed upward, overwhelmed with sadness and grief. Yet from where Jesus hung, bruised, bloodied and beaten, a last gasp of breath was about to usher forth a gush of hope and mercy in a flow of saving grace. In time, they would understand. In time, so would you and I, and those of generations to come.

Do I hold a certain perspective about some idea? Some person?

How do I feel about my views?

Am I open to cooperating with God to expand my awareness?

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