Every morning, as I get ready for the day, I confront my reflection in the mirror. Having been a curling iron-challenged teen, blessed with pimples from the fourth grade on, I am always pleased with how much more nicely things progress as I age.
Alas to have such pride. Alas to have such honest children. One day a year or so ago, my precious daughter asked me why I never had braces. Looking at my reflection daily, I can tell you that from my height my teeth are straight and I never needed them. Now however, I became aware of the challenge of perspective. From my daughter's lower height my teeth are not straight. In fact, when I stuck my proud nose high in the air to get a better view of said disfigurement, I was surprised to see just how crooked my front teeth were.
Immediately I began to wonder about the other view. I now knew what people shorter than me saw; what was it that people taller than me were seeing? Slowly lowering my proud little nose I discovered that I was one of those women that I've always dreaded becoming: a woman with a moustache. Not having an ounce of Hercule in me, I immediately dug out the tweezers and remedied the situation. Obviously my husband has more tact than my child. He had never mentioned it. (Had he?)
Well, lest you think me incredibly vain (how does one reconcile that question when blogging...) , the whole thing set me to thinking about perspective. What do we really see? And what would we see when looking from a different view? I have a lovely relative who is prone to harping about the dietary choices and health issues of other people. Could it be that she is simply showing her love and concern for her family members, rather than just endlessly nagging? Or when a Christian warns a non-believer about the path to the eternal punishment, it is usually taken as judgement and hateful. However, from the Christian viewpoint it is an act of love, a heartfelt desire to save the person from a dreadful fate. (Of course, as a Christian I'm far more concerned about where I and my loved ones will end up for eternity, than how long we're going to live here. I do try to make healthy food choices--exempting chocolate of course!)
Hmm. Walking this fine of a line of distinction takes practice so as to not succumb to moral relativism, but it does make me wonder if it would be easier to get along with others if I could remember about our different perspectives? I could be kinder to rude people I meet during the day, if I was just a bit better about remembering this concept. Most of the time I am tempted to be rude back and, being human, I do sometimes fail and miss the mark of kindness; apologizing is something I'm very good at. Perspective can lead to more compassion, if we all remembered it, I suppose. Except that we all seem to be a bit more like Robert Frost's neighbor who believed that good fences made good neighbors. 'And he likes having thought of it so well He says again, "Good fences make good neighbors." ' (Mending Wall)
"As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD" (Joshua 24:16). If that's my choice--and it is--then I must learn to carry this lesson with me daily. In the end it seems that the only thing about my Christian walk that feels like a burden is all the flesh that I carry with me. Perhaps plucking out those moustache hairs helps me in more ways than one. I know I ponder perspective every time I reach for my tweezers these days.