According to several hard copy and online versions of the dictionary, perspective is the way you regard something, your point of view, and or how things around you interact in relation to each other. Your perspective on something may vary greatly from another who may be standing in the same room you are yet see what you see through a completely different set of eyes. Many things can affect one’s perception. Faith, economic situation, environment one was raised, human interaction, social media, friendships, political affiliation, and more can all have some bearing on how someone perceives the world, the people in that world, and the events taking place in that world.
In other words, perspective actually is in and of itself a matter of perception.
Perspective is also fluid and ever changing. How you perceive something when you’re in the womb is different at age six is different at twelve, twenty, and forty. In the womb, science will attest to us hearing our mother’s heartbeat and taking comfort in that constant sound; reminder we are not alone. We hear the muffled voices of those around us and begin to recognize them before we’ve even met the faces which match those sounds. At six years old you know all the voices as they gather around your grandmother’s dining table which looks like something you’ve read about in Jack and the Beanstalk. It’s tall and broad and when you sit in your regular Sunday seat (a keg stool constructed by your grandfather and made comfortable with a handmade pillow stitched by your grandma); your feet dangle a few inches off the floor. Your chin barely clears the edge of it. The plates look more like platters and you have to grasp the tumbler holding your fruit punch with both hands, and even then you’re a bit shaky getting the sweet liquid to your lips.
At age twelve, your feet now touch the floor, you can see over the edge of the table and you begin to listen to the grown-up conversations around you. What you see and hear is of little interest to you. You’d rather be having pizza with your friends and who gives a rat’s butt who wins the Republican nomination when you think you’re probably a Democrat anyway.
Here you are twenty. You’ve given up the notion you’re a Democrat and try to defend your Republican views to your union dues paying family to no avail. You think they’re arrogant and condescending and they believe you’re a smarty-tail without a brain. You’re pregnant and no one even knows it yet, and Grandma’s chicken and dumplings have never tasted better. You remember thinking, I should be an adult. I’m old enough. I’m going to be a mom. But I’m not yet, am I? I’m still six years old at this table.
At age forty-five, you see that table for the last time. Only now, it’s not the dining room table. It was long ago replaced with a new solid wood one. The Formica table you grew up eating from has been transformed into a kitchen work surface with storage built beneath it. The newer wood table is dusty, draped in one of the many felt-backed, plastic cloths Grandma has been gifted over the years as she loved those things and when folks had no idea what to gift her for any special occasion, a new one was produced. Sometimes there was more than one under the Christmas tree.
Notes scatter its surface; hand-jotted, sometimes not legible, definitely not the elegant scrawl you remember from forty years prior. There are a few “flyers” lying about, the weekly advertisements from the local markets. Sticky residue coats the few empty spaces of plastic table covering and an ancient set of salt and pepper shakers.
There are no plates, no tumblers, no pot of chicken and dumplings, no adult conversations being mostly ignored by six year old ears. Only quiet. And cleaning that needs done but reluctance of reality makes that slower than anyone would like, yet quicker than everyone is ready for.
From conception to birth to years of growth to death; perspective follows us. It grows with us, it changes with us, it challenges us, it transforms us, and it comes full circle. This past year my perspective has changed and grown, more than once. It’s changed concerning my career, my life, and in what’s important. It’s been changed by life and death, my faith, and the people around me. And I have discovered, perspective’s fluidity knows no bounds.
It changed again today, when I awoke to discover my blog had been suspended and closed for reasons that have yet to be explained by the hosting platform. I expected some degree of blow back because anyone setting out on a journey that involves very publicly talking about their faith is bound to receive that, and talking about my faith was a big part of what the blog was supposed to support. What I didn’t expect was a complete shutdown and in less than ten days of opening. The realization of what this journey entails just got a little more real and my perspective changed from expecting blow back to expecting brick walls, and the determination to go over, under, or around grew alongside that perspective.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart, BethAnn, for deciding to step out on the shaky limb I’m clinging to in this endeavor and offering me a feature here in your space within hours of this little discovery. You are much appreciated and loved. And thanks to your readers for giving my post a little peek-see. Pray for me, folks, the fight has just begun…
We’re all in this boat called life, broken and striving for that perfection…grab a paddle!