Perspective saves me.
I have written a lot about gratitude and the shift in how we look at things in our lives to find deeper meaning and purpose.
Something happens in your life and you respond. You can either take a glance and carry on, or take the lens and twist it into focus. You can look behind and beyond the circumstance and discover all kinds of insight as you grow in wisdom from such introspection. Embrace the moment I say. Dwell in the depths of it.
I do that a lot.
I’m a thinker. And a feeler. And I respond.
But the perspective I’m working on is very different, and yet the same. Instead of focusing the lens closer, like a microscope studying the very specific situation and all the parts and pieces that belong to it…
I twist that lens larger to cover the landscape that carries the picture I am in. When I do that, I see more. I take in more. My focus expands to a much greater significant scene that takes me out of the magnified situation, and pulls me farther away from it, shooting the larger picture.
Often when I find myself in a crisis, or some difficult experience, I lunge hard and fast right on into it without pulling back first. It takes intention to stop the lens from tightening into that initial image and diving into the depths of what transpired and what will come from it. We can lose ourselves right there in the thick of the frame. But if we can brace ourselves, and turn that lens back further and further to expand the entire landscape of our lives, we just might respond differently. We might view it differently too.
I have been in pain for about a month, since the surgery I had on my foot and my ankle. My life came to a nice jolted halt without the use of my leg. It’s quite difficult getting around on one leg, ya know? I managed to fall pretty hard spilling over myself and onto a bench in the hallway just this morning. Ouch. It’s also difficult to run a household and care for children and pretty much impossible to drive school routes and errands and any activities. I have dropped the ball on writing deadlines, and book reviews as well as taken the absentee role on various events and gatherings. “Rest and elevate” is the treatment while in my cast. I don’t do either well. I’ve had to give up pretty much everything; at least it feels that way.
It’s been a bit torturing.
I’ve had my meltdowns. I’ve sworn like a sailor and cried like a baby. I’ve pulled my big girl pants up and composed myself enough to ‘mother from the couch’ and engage when I can with others. I’ve prayed for many people and challenged myself to think deeper, and find purpose and meaning behind and beyond this situation.
That’s all fine and good, and my usual way to cope with an unfortunate circumstance. But I realize there is something even more powerful for me in helping change my perspective. I practice it quite often and realized I don’t think I have described it here before.
This expansion of my lens…
I feel the pain.
You see the pain, don’t ya? My lens was magnified intensely on that focal point, that image, when I swore and cried and whined.
But if I stretch the lens a bit further out, you would find my family surrounding me with helping hands and serving hearts when I am in need. You’d see the mess of a home without the ‘homemaker’, but you would see the dishes done and the laundry folded and the ‘most’ important things completed by my husband and friends that come by with meals and a helping hand. Stretch that lens further out…and back…
You would watch me playing a game of ball in the summer sun, laughing and embracing time with family as I so carefully placed cones on the divots in the yard, promising to NOT twist my ankle. Running to first base, I went down. But stretch further and you will see a weekend of love and laughter and the beautiful new land my sister lives on, with which my children played half naked in the creek and acres of woods. You would be warmed by the campfire and wooed by the s’mores. Ah, the memories…
Twist again to widen the scope.
You would discover 30 years of walking in pain, and the revelation that finally something has been done about it! You would realize this is the beginning of a new way to walk and the beginning of the path to freedom, thanks to some incredible doctors and their expertise. I am blessed to have the option of being ‘fixed’.
Wind that lens more…
You would see a beautiful home, loving ‘get well’ cards in the mailbox and down the street around town- people calling, sending pictures, or stopping by to check in on me. You would find a community full of organizations and resources and people that fill our lives and our hearts and our minds, in which we are blessed to belong. Stretch that lens further and you will span the country and beyond of beloved friends and writers I adore connecting with through the web. You would discover a few family members who send special gifts, cards and loving prayers for my healing. Twist the lens a different way and you will go beyond January and into February, without a cast and in a new boot going to PT to learn how to walk again. Tweak the lens one more time to span March and April full of the new birth of a season of warmer days and me taking my long walks reflecting on the winter of stillness and pain, and feeling so grateful for my recovery.
When the lens gets bigger… the situation gets smaller.
When my daughter Cassidy was very sick over Thanksgiving, I used the same tweak of the lens. Yes, she was sick and it gets hard and scary when she can’t breathe. Surely that is difficult and no mother wants to see her child suffer. Expand the lens…
You will see months before the sickness, she stayed well and strong and completely healthy! The lens would reveal strength in her medical journey and encouragement that the months ahead will be good too. Twist and turn far beyond the year of health and stretch the lens for years to find we survived the hardest parts. We endured all the diagnoses and procedures and surgeries and discoveries to get to this place. Take in the picture to see amazing healing and hope, and then those 10 or so days seemed manageable.
Expand your lens. Open your borders and stretch your frame. The surrounding scenery may enhance and change the picture and the landscape may add an entirely new dimension to your focal point. When difficult things happen, we naturally zoom in on the circumstance and sometimes we allow it to take over the bigger picture.
Don’t zoom in too long, or you may lose the power of the big picture perspective.
Stretch it out.
Pull further away, to survey the scope of it all.
Change the frame.
Enlarge the landscape.
Until you reach your best shot.
The new scenery will surely change the view.