The other day at Lake Opeka, when I asked my 9 year old granddaughter if she understood what the word “perspective” meant, she quickly replied, “It’s how we see things.” I am not sure I even knew the word at her age, much less what it meant.
I explained how if we only sit on the east side of this lake, we will be certain it is shaped in a rectangle. And if we sit only at the south end, we will be sure it is round, like a large farm pond. And this would be based solely on our “perspective.”
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This Lake is the quiet corner of my life
a sacred space where
occasionally (ok, almost never) I see the morning sun
and most often the later afternoon
or setting sun
She is viewed most often from the east side
from “my” Weeping Willow Tree
sitting on “my” very own rock.
Occasionally the view changes
as I retreat to the south end
in search of shade or a place to park.
It was one of those times
on the south end
I noticed the mystery of
This lake is
or round —
depending on my
And on that day two years ago
gazing at my “round” rectangular lake
my thoughts drifted to
God’s perspective –
fuller/wider/more complete than mine
because he sees all perspectives
While not a new thought to me
it left me strangely unmoved.
I noted my resistance
giving myself time to simply pay attention
(I have learned these feelings tell me
something needs attention)
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I continued to note this resistance over the next couple of years as I moved from my Willow Tree on the east side of the lake, to the one of the Willow Trees at the south end. This week down at the south end looking at this “round” rectangular lake, I mulled over in my mind this curious resistance to the thought of God’s perspective. Why didn’t this truth comfort me?
And I opened my journal and penned these words as I began to process what I was coming to understand:
“He sees and knows far more than
me who only sees what her eyes see here and now
who knows only what she has experienced.”
As I continued to journal, I thought about how, growing up, I was taught to “Trust God’s perspective.” — the admonition to trust accompanied by the implication we would then “Be OK.” (At least that is what I “heard.” And in those last two words, the message to me was: “Fear, sadness, anxiety are evidence of a lack of trust of God’s perspective.” And I understood, contained right there in those two words (“Be OK.”) was the source of my resistance.
Marc Alan Schelske points out in his recently released book, (The Wisdom of Your Heart ) emotions are given to us by the God who, himself, loves and has emotions. “They (emotions) are almost always telling us something true and important about our inner landscapes or outer circumstances.” We need to pay attention.
With help, over these past years, I have learned I do not have to be afraid nor be ashamed of, for example, my fear, for fear and faith can co-exist as my fear drives me to my faith.
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Today I took two grandchildren (including the 9 year old mentioned above) with me to the lake, showing them from the east side how the lake is shaped like a rectangle and when we walk around to the south end, it will look round. As we made our way to the end of the lake along the east side, stopping along the way as children will do, they kept watch on the lake, Young Miss exclaiming as we walked south, “I can’t believe this.”
As we stood at the end of the “round lake” that we knew was in actuality a rectangular lake, we discussed perspective and what I have learned about it – ours and God’s. She seemed to get it.
At lunch Young Miss, 9 years old, told her Grandpa the heart of what she had learned at the lake. After explaining the wonder of perspective and how the lake looks different depending on where we are, she put it all together in these twelve words:
“God sees the whole perspective.
And he is with us in ours.”
We then reviewed together the truth that sometimes what we experience from our perspective hurts. And we get to feel the feelings we feel.
She got that too.
And so am I.
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You may notice I used present tense in that last sentence. It’s still harder on some days than others to believe my perspective is not all there is — even on the hardness of those days, I am learning (present tense) Jesus is with me in the hard and I can receive encouragement and comfort from others on the days when it is hard to believe what I see is not all there is. For that I am grateful.