This morning as Denali and I were walking I noticed the leaves in the trees above our heads were rustling. The more I paid attention, the more I realized the leaves were rustling for a long time. Clearly there was a breeze but it was up there – it hadn’t reached us yet. A few minutes later I felt what they had felt – a lovely morning breeze. If I closed my eyes, I almost thought I was in Illinois on my grandparents’ farm on a summer morning.
I started wondering about all that rustling and how it took quite some time for the breeze up there to get down to us on the ground.
Six weeks or so ago Brad and I were headed to Tennessee to visit my family. It was a rainy night and the traffic was bad. Just as we went around the bend on I-65 in Louisville brake lights lit up our lane and we were yards away from crashing into the car in front of us. Thankfully Brad had control and we were fine – mostly. It turns out there was standing water in the left lane, but it was only noticed when a car got very close to it, which meant lots of sudden braking on a rainy, dark night.
Just moments before, we were cruising along thankful to be almost out of Louisville. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, our hearts were racing and we were thankful to be safe.
Almost four months ago I went to work stressed out about my job. Again. My boss asked me if it was time – time for me to leave North. Without any hesitation I said yes. I didn’t have a plan or another job to go to. I hadn’t talked to my husband about this – not seriously anyway. And yet, I said yes.
One day I knew where I’d be six months from then and the next I had no idea. I went from having a steady job to verbally committing to leaving by mid-summer.
Although I know there are bigger stories swirling all around me all the time, most of the time I’m only focused on my story, my life, my perspective. It’s hard to see the bigger picture when I’m only able to look through my eyes – my point of view, my scope of vision. The thing is, however, I’m only one tiny speck in this world, galaxy, universe. There’s so much more going on than what I see and experience. And yet, what I see and experience is so big to me.
If I could have taken a bird’s eye view this morning, maybe I would have seen the wind coming from the east. I would have seen the trees several neighborhoods down beginning to sway. I would have seen the path of the wind from there to here, to the street where I was walking with my dog. I would have seen the trajectory of the wind – from the tallest tree down through the branches and make its way to my face and through my dog’s fur on her back.
If I could have been in a small plane that Friday night hovering over Louisville, maybe I would have seen the rain come down so steadily and for so long that the water began to gather on the interstate. I would have seen the cars surprised and suddenly braking to avoid the massive puddle in the fast lane. I would have seen what was coming and warned myself down below to slow down, take it easy through the bend.
If I could have been 5 months down the road the day I spoke to my boss, maybe I would have seen well-written cover letters and jobs worthy of excitement and possibility. I would have seen me go through several successful interviews and even receive a job offer. I would know that there is no need to worry or be anxious because everything really will work out just perfectly.
But, it doesn’t work that way. As much as I want to see the bigger picture and get outside of my limited perspective, more often than not it doesn’t happen that way. I forget that everything usually does work out and I get anxious anyway. I forget that there are bigger forces going on around me and pretend I’m in control. I forget that the wind will blow as it wills and me wishing it do something different won’t make any difference.
I’m pondering perspective today because yesterday I experienced something very powerful, something that greatly impacted how I view my perspective.
Yesterday was my last Sunday at North. At the end of the service, current and former youth and any adults that ever worked with me were invited to come forward to lay hands on me as our senior pastor sent me off with a blessing. From where I stood I could feel maybe 7 or 8 hands on me. I could see 6 or 7 feet near me. And that’s it. I didn’t see anything else. As soon as the blessing was over I was a sobbing mess and I immediately left the sanctuary, so I had no idea who all was up there for the blessing.
And then I saw this picture. In my limited perspective I saw a few people standing close by. The reality, though, was much bigger. If I had stepped back, if I had turned my head from side to side and stood on my tiptoes, I would have seen something much different than what I experienced with my limited vision.
There’s always more going on than we realize. Our vision, our experiences are so limiting. If we can step back and get the wide lens view… if we can fly up and get the bird’s eye view… if we can hop in a small plane or maybe a hot air balloon… my how our perspective would change!
I need to be reminded daily, maybe even moment-by-moment, that there’s always more going on than I realize. I need to be reminded to take a few steps back, to try looking from a different perspective and be amazed at what is really there.