James Deacon said that “What you see depends not only on what you look AT but where you look FROM.”.
It’s probably something that we ponder off and on when we see a meaningful quote all prettied up on pinterest,( I’m a fan, visit me there too!), but how long do you think of the quote and how much do you focus on what perspective can bring to your life. I have a story.
There was a couple who had spent 26 years together. The husband, early on, had 2 of the coolest jobs known to man. He was a firefighter/paramedic and a flight medic. He had been in the Special Forces in the Army, he had jumped from perfectly good planes for no fun. He was very active in his education and was funnier than most human beings could hope to be. He was active in outdoor sports, and as it turned out was an amazing father. He had a crazy off the norm schedule, so he was home for days at a time and was able to focus on his kids, so that helped. The wife was, early on, was in school and worked with family. Basically business hours, but there was always time for outdoor activities and fun wherever it could be found. She wanted to finish her degree, but fate would have her learning that God may have had different plans. She was pregnant a few months after getting married, and knew life would be changing. They worked together well because their belief systems were the same and they had a down to earth, but out of this world sense of life and humor. As the husband focused on his career and education, he was still available as a partner and father. Another few years and a daughter came into the mix. The wife had only taken a few weeks off of work with the first child, but was able to work around the husbands schedule so that the son was mostly with the two of them. and they were blessed enough that the families around them could help out with both kids after the wife went back to work 2 weeks after the daughter was born as well. The kids didn’t have traditional daycare, and were always around loving family members. The wife was always blessed with jobs that she was appreciated. The husband had great success in his profession too. They had chosen the jobs they have for much of the same reasons, a passion for what they did and also a schedule that allowed them to tag team parent. Neither made fantastic wages, but it worked. They were able to stay focused on the importance of family. 12 years into the marriage, another son had blessed the mix. This was when the first devastating moment happened for the couple. The husband was involved in a motorcycle accident on his way to Sturgis for the bike rally. If it were not for friends that happened to be medics that were traveling with him, he would not have lived. They worked for 45 minutes to bring him back to life and keep him there until help arrived. When the wife was notified, she was grateful that the kids were already with her family on a trip to the lake. She was able to notify them and then be on her way to Wyoming to ensure her husbands safe return home for proper care. Surrounded by friends who took care of the details and supported her in all ways possible, she did what she had to do. She was just so grateful that his life had been spared that she missed many of the upcoming changes in her life. The husband had suffered 3 traumatic brain injuries, broken ribs, lacerated liver, punctured kidneys, torn diaphragm, broken hand, and damaged spleen. Each one of these injuries could have taken his life or changed it forever instantly, but barring the brain injuries, that took about 4 months to return to full memory function , he was fine. They never really talked about the devastation that he must have experienced or the devastation that the family had experienced.
Because things seemed to return to “normal” after 5 or so months, the husband decided he wanted to work on his masters degree. The wife years earlier had gone back to school to help get a job for herself so that her schedule could accommodate the children and the income could allow the husband the time he would be gone to achieve success at school. Shortly after he received his MPA, he applied for another masters program out of state. When he was accepted, he had to travel every other month, this put a financial burden on the family because he was unable to work his second job as much as he used to. But it was so cool and was such a great opportunity and experience, how could they pass it up? The wife was able to juggle schedules, and with such great support from both sides of the family, it worked. The kids excelled at school and sports and socially. They helped around the house some and things were good. The wife, with no regret kept putting off finishing her degree and enjoyed her life as mass organizer, coach, musical director at the school, she enjoyed success being self employed and was making a difference in her clients lives as well. Somehow it seemed easy. Financially, nothing had been easy, but she was always able to make it work. After the accident, she never thought twice about the fact that she had taken over everything when it came to home and family including the finances, the cleaning, the money earning differential requirements, the kids activities. The husband was focused on his career and his school. It was important and fun for all of them. It seemed to work and she was enjoying life and involvement in the kids lives the husbands success.
At 21 years of marriage. Things seemed tougher, but still happy. The wife was always happy. So many memories with the kids and family. So much fun. Except now the husband was always stressed, always tired. The headache he had been suffering from since the accident seemed to be taking its toll. He missed out on more family time. He missed out on the social life he had with his friends at work, he had moved out of the field in the fire service and had taken a position in Emergency Management. His education had made this an easy transition, and he enjoyed much success in the position. But this came at a cost. He traveled more for work, he was always in pain, but kept it to himself. The travel was awesome and he loved the work, but always came home and found his family doing great without him. The wife was always full steam ahead, and rarely noticed his absence, she had become accustom. But she was always so grateful when he was home and could share in family time, was always so excited for him to enjoy his job and his travel. By this time, he had to give up his 2nd job as a flight medic, because he didn’t have the time to invest in the continuing education and training that was required. They were so sad to see him go and he definitely missed flying. He missed the crews. The wife missed the camaraderie of the flight family. This is when the wife’s life would again be effected by another permanent loss. Her mother was diagnosed with cancer, and died 4 short months later. Save her husband, her mother was her biggest influence and love of her life. But the deep understanding that the wife had of the death of her mother, was displayed in gratitude and understanding, that if her mother lived , she would never be the same woman, so the fact that her mother was no longer suffering, it seemed logical that her daughter shouldn’t suffer either. But the wife was sooooo wrong.
I will touch on this moment some time in the future. It’s kind of a big subject for this moment. For now I will take a deep breath and be grateful for the time I had.
The last 5 years, much has happened. But the story up until now is probably familiar to most. The perspective from which this story is told, is very different than it would have been told by the husband. If you can tell, it was written from the wife’s perspective, maybe with to much objectivity. And what would this story had read like of the children had a chance to tell it? What about the perspective of the wife’s parents? The husbands parents? Friends?
Perspective is crucial. It is crucial to the person seeing it, but maybe it should be more crucial to the person being seen. Maybe if perspective isn’t just the way we see things, but the way we judge our growth and acceptance of others. What if we can be more open the the perspective of others to see ourselves in a different light that has more truth in it than most will want to admit. But it’s these truths that we should embrace.
The human mind is amazing beyond understanding. But each mind is built and functions individually within each of us. The power to share and expand the mind by combining other minds perspective is the true evolution of the human spirit. To never assume others are wrong before we look from their perspective. To never judge another’s reactions or feelings or beliefs, is truly an advanced human trait. We can stay all of our lives only believing our own perspective and reduce our minds abilities to our small 8-10 pound cranium, or we can allow it to expand beyond the physical border into the perspectives of others, that allow a truly humble, kind, open and unlimited understanding of humankind. The intense understanding of ourselves, comes from looking at ourselves from the perspective of those around us. Those people that we effect and affect, their perspective is crucial to our growth. Our minds have unlimited ability to understand and connect, but will stay in its own perspective if we don’t open up the possibilities. Those possibilities are right in front of us in the form of family, friends, co-workers, and sometimes even seemingly strangers. Innocent bystanders. Let’s not be a bystander in our own life and success, especially when we have so many around us that can help us be so active in our own existence.
Be cognizant today of the effect you have on others, enrich another life and you will be enriching your own. Don’t just be a bystander with judgment, make a difference!