Every new angle brings with it a new perspective
26 Dec 2022
Though it's the same forest, you get a different perspective when you're looking down on it from the air 36,000 feet above, compared to looking up at it from a path right through its middle.
That's why it's important to both fly and hike.
Though it's the same carousel, you get a different perspective when you're six-years old and so thrilled when the adults accompanying you agree to pay for a ride and so disappointed when the horse you selected doesn't go up and down, compared to being a much older adult and knowing that whether around and around or up and down, you can just chose to love it and let the details go.
That's why it's important to have been a child before you're an adult.
Though it's the same restaurant, the perspective changes if you're the one waiting to be served or the one with so many people to serve that no matter how fast you hurry someone will be left waiting.
That's why it's important to work in a restaurant at some point in your life. Or a grocery store. Or a fast-food joint. So that when you're the one buying and waiting you know what it's like to be the one serving and hurrying.
Perspective changes with space and time and experience.
You get one perspective when you visit a place you've never been before and are delighted by its every quirk. You get another after you live there for years and years and know all its secrets.
You get one perspective when someone you love is sick. You get another when you are sick.
You get one perspective when the sun is gloriously shining. You get another in the rain.
We once planned an event to help change people's perspective.
It was patterned after an event called the Hunger Banquet that we'd heard about from our BYU students who'd supported it there.
I can't speak to the details of their event because I only heard about it second-hand, but at ours, everybody who came got a number. A few people with rare lucky numbers ended up at a table set attractively and ate a sumptuous meal. Several more were fortunate enough to have a seat at a regular old unadorned table and eat something like soup and bread. The biggest group, however, sat on the floor and shared a bowl of rice.
Kind of a perspective changer.
Do you know how hard it is to enjoy a sumptjous meal when most of the other people around you are sharing a rice bowl?
And does it make you want to do something?
We do and it did.
You just want to get up and bring all those other people to the table and share your rolls and your salad and make sure they smell the fresh flowers in the centerpiece.
And then your perspective broadens to the whole wide world of people who have only rice while we have not just dinner. We have dessert.
Sometimes you're 36,000 feet above the ground. Sometimes you're walking on a dirt path. Sometimes you're new in town. Sometimes someone you love is sick. Sometimes you have to learn to see the beauty in the rain even if it comes on your picnic.
The important thing is to take every chance to see everything you've never seen before, and to see it from every possible angle.
Read a book, watch a crowd, talk to a neighbor, climb a mountain.
Because every new perspective can be enlightening.
And even if the horse on the carousel doesn't go up and down, you'll know you're in for a great ride.
Updated from first publication in the Davis Clipper in July, 2015
Louise R. Shaw