the proper or accurate point of view or the ability to see it; objectivity: try to get some perspective on your troubles
It’s Tuesday again, and you know what that means… today is Truth Be Told Tuesday. Thanks for checking in.
My wife’s favorite movie is Forrest Gump. The 1994 blockbuster film featuring Tom Hanks was an endearing story that depicted a slow-witted and naïve man, albeit a tremendous athlete, from Alabama.
Forrest had the ability to see things from a vantage point that wasn’t skewed by how he was treated by others. He wasn’t easily offended nor did he demand his right to be right in every situation. What Tom Hank’s character did do was love unconditionally, be consistent in his behavior and good nature, and constantly looked at the best that resided in each individual he came in contact with.
My wife shared with me the reason she loves Forrest Gump is because he was an ordinary man with limited social skills – in the world’s view – who was able to consistently do extraordinary things.
“There should be a lot of Forrest Gump in all of us.” I agree.
The classic line that came from the movie was delivered by Hanks and was a concrete view his mother – Sally Fields – lived by: “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”
What great perspective.
Perspective finds it genesis in the Latin word perspicere, which means to “see through.” Proper perspective is all about eliminating the clutter, the loud voices and the tidal waves of combative and negative commentary and finds – sees – the truth within a given situation.
Perspective is problematic for some but is paramount, powerful, and pleasing for all who take a view of things that is balanced and perfected within deep reflection that enables one to have a proper perspective.
Proper perspective takes a view from every angle.
What I’ve learned about perspective is three-fold.
Allow me to share.
Time & Reflection
The view we often take of things finds its birthplace in the environment and culture we were raised in. This can be a good proposition or a bad proposition. All one has to observe is how issues such as gay marriage, abortion, and gun control are viewed differently in different geographical regions within our country. We are all over the map – literally – and our views reflect those differences of opinions. And this isn’t the first time for our country to be all over the place in the view we take of things. Not so long ago the treatment of women, blacks and Jews were so despicable it left one questioning if there was any humanity still present in this country. With that being said, what I’ve come to realize is that with time and proper reflection the view we take of things can improve, change, or become more concrete. For any person to evolve and mature there needs to be a process of purification. A process that carries with it the demand that one empties oneself of him or her self, a process that welcomes and applauds questioning long held beliefs and questions why we believe what we believe. Perspective is about clarity and often times we need time and serious reflection to flesh out a proper perspective.
Look at things from the other side
The easiest thing we as a people can do is to surround ourselves with people that think just like we do. The most difficult thing we as a people can do is to find common ground with people that have an entirely different view of things than we do. In Sidney Poitier’s book, “The Measure of a Man” he said these words:
“If you walk down the street and someone is with you, he’ll adjust to your pace or you to his, and you’ll never be aware of it. There’s no effort. It simply happens. And the same thing can happen with the rhythm of life.”
When we are unable to look at things from another person’s perspective we lose our ability to have a complete and fair perspective. When we do this everyone loses thus eliminating any chance for a deeper, more meaningful relationship. What is sacrificed is the great rhythm of a great relationship. In the end, relationships are a two way street, but one can’t be a bike-path and the other a highway. Be fair and equitable when dealing with people, and always examine things from the view another takes in any given situation.
Prayer changes everything
We have a saying in our house that reflects how time changes everything: “90 days from now things will either be better or they will be worse, but they won’t be the same.” Prayer – consistent and serious prayer – carries with it the power to change, validate, or strengthen our convictions and perspective.
The beginning of Psalm 86 states these words of prayer from David:
Bend down, O Lord, and hear my prayer;
answer me, for I need your help.
2 Protect me, for I am devoted to you.
Save me, for I serve you and trust you.
You are my God.
3 Be merciful to me, O Lord,
for I am calling on you constantly.
4 Give me happiness, O Lord,
for I give myself to you.
5 O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive,
so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help.
6 Listen closely to my prayer, O Lord;
hear my urgent cry.
7 I will call to you whenever I’m in trouble,
and you will answer me.
David’s prayer displays his perspective that with God and his unfailing love anything is possible. God is devoted to us and is full of mercy and grace in every situation. When we pray our perspective changes. We often realize the problem is temporal and not eternal. We realize that in the midst of the pain there is a God that knows the beginning, the middle, and the end in every situation. Prayer just doesn’t carry with it the potential to change our situation it ultimately has the power to change us, and the view we take of things. Prayer changes our perspective.
Earlier this week it was my plan to share the awful emails I received from my 18-year-old son’s mother concerning money in this piece, but upon further reflection I chose not to because I didn’t create this site for that type of forum. I created this site to encourage others and myself, and to provide different perspectives. Thus far this has been accomplished. No need to change the course of my direction or mission now. Anyway, the emails used words like, “devil, loser, bum, and deadbeat” in reference to me not sharing in the tuition of our son’s private school education that encompassed 13 years of education – kindergarten to 12th grade. Hey lady, your budget is not my budget. Presidential candidates say it another way; “It’s the economy stupid.” Oh, before I forget, I especially love the term bum.
Like Forrest’s mother says; “Stupid is as stupid does.”
Finally, in August of 2010 I put 47 marbles in a bowl on my nightstand next to my bed. I put forty-six marbles of the same size and one larger marble in the bowl to remind me of how many more months I would have to deal with my son’s mother. The marbles were a reminder to me that everything – and I mean everything – has a beginning, a middle, and an end. It was a way to remind me that perspective was the key in this situation, and to focus on what was important and what I could control. I still keep one marble – the big marble – in the dish next to my bed to remind me that perspective is everything, and that I made it through this last test and I will make it through the next.
On the 48th month I received these words from my son in the form of a letter during his first week at the United States Air Force Academy Prep. School.
Hey Dad, I hope all is well. I miss you and love you. It’s tough here but I’ll get through it with the help of God. I’ll be going to church every Sunday here and have been reading Proverbs when I can. Coach Hunter was right, it is hard but I can stick it out. The football coaching staff is really cool. Tell the Fam I said hi and that I miss them. Probably by the time you get this I will have already called you for a brief minute, but I love you and miss you. Please pray for me Dad because I am broken down, but I will build myself back up to become a Christian Man!
Love you Pops,
My son’s words touched me in a deep, powerful, and meaningful way. They enabled my mind and heart to accept all of the good I’ve done in my child’s life, all the things that didn’t cost a penny or needed a private education to accomplish or obtain.
That is perspective.
In the end, perspective is what creates the balance in life; the rhythm. Perspective is not obtrusive, domineering or offensive. It doesn’t carry with it arrogance, self-righteousness or a sense of self-entitlement. Perspective is what you gain when you lay your head on the pillow at night and you can’t close your eyes until you’ve come to the end of yourself in a certain matter. Perspective is about honesty and walking in another’s shoes. True perspective is about harmony and peace.
My son’s words – along with reflection, assessing different views, and prayer – provided me with peace, joy, and dare I say perspective.
Thank you Bryce, your words were kind, thoughtful, and encouraging. Just the way our words should be. I’ve taught you well. I love you.
That is my “Truth Be Told” for July 22, 2014 (tbtt . # 62)
sbb . 1671
Something the Boy Said . Sting