Wednesday, November 9, 2011


2 a : the interrelation in which a subject or its parts are mentally viewed; also : point of view

It's so nice to have an in-house art teacher.  I was trying to draw cowboy boots today and couldn't figure out how to draw the feet.  The body was full frontal, so should the boots be to the side?  To the same or different sides?  I called B over and she quickly showed me how to do it.  When I asked whether to point the toes of the other foot in the same direction, she said, "If you want to look Egyptian!"  She then posed for me, demonstrating how awkward it is to stand with your body forward and your feet going the same way.  I got her point.  It's really all about perspective, isn't it?

A friend was recently talking about a mutual acquaintance.  She was sharing how this person's family is so authentic, so genuine, so real.  She talked about how they show their faith through their lives and how they've been such a blessing to her during her time in Nashville.  My perspective is entirely different.  The mom and dad in this family have both been judgmental, artificial and critical of my family.  From my perspective, they aren't any of the things my friend said.  So who's right?  I think we both are.

I have many mutual friends who find this family completely delightful and servant-hearted.  But I am not going to deny my own experiences and invalidate them.  This family makes me feel judged and hurt.  I don't admire them, respect them or even like them.  Is that wrong?  Or is it just the result of trying to hold in tension my own truth and the truth of others' experiences?

Someone might meet me and later describe me as a great listener, as someone who didn't say the right thing, but just listened and made them feel really heard.  Another friend of yours might tell you I'm standoffish, that I don't go out of my way to speak to them and sometimes even intentionally don't come over to chat when I could.  Who's right?  Both would be.  Depending on the day, my mood, how I feel and how well I know you, I might not initiate conversation.  This doesn't mean I don't like you.  It doesn't even mean I don't want to talk to you.  The vast majority of the time, my perspective is that if you want to talk to me, you'll start talking to me.  I start from the baseline assumption that people have better things to do than talk to me.

I have a deep desire to give people, including my children, the opportunity to have a different perspective than my own.  I think we each bring a unique viewpoint to every person, situation and circumstance we encounter.  Given this, clearly we all have different perspectives.  And I think these different views and ways of approaching life reflect God beautifully.  I think he's far more diverse than any one individual, so the myriad perspectives we bring collectively reflect him far better than any one of us does.  The challenge is how to honor our own perspective and the perspectives of others.  This is easier for me with some people than others.  I think overall I'm a very accepting person,but there have been a handful of people that I've encountered in my life who have taken a nearly instant dislike to me.  Without exception, I've always been hurt by this.  For some bizarre reason, I expect people to, if not like me, then not react with such strong dislike.  I'll be honest and say that my hurt in these instances has kept me from even attempting to see, much less value, their perspectives.  I'm not saying this is right or good of me.  It's just the truth of who I am.

I'll keep working on developing a willingness to let others see the world their way.  And in the meantime, I'll direct any technical perspective questions to my astute 10 year old.

1 comment:

Chris and Tiana said...

This is great. Oh, how I wish more people thought this way. Different perspectives can be a good thing, or at the very least, a valid thing. But in my experience, there are far too many people who are convinced that their perspective is not only right, but also the only possible perspective. Maybe this is one of the many reasons I like you so much :)