One Sunday afternoon I was having lunch with a family that I knew through the residential care facility that I was working at.
We had just finished ordering our food when the mom suddenly jumped up out of her chair and demanded her son and I step outside with her for a talk.
Admittedly, I was very confused. Everyone had seemed fine, but the change in emotion suggested that there was more going on than met the eye.
As we sat outside at the fountain, I listened as the mom confronted her son about something that had happened between them hours before I had met up with them. I quickly discerned that I was there as a witness (and possibly a moderator).
I loved moments like these. I lived for them.
The son had demanded something from his mom earlier that day. Seeking to set boundaries and to keep the weekend from being about getting gifts he was declined his demand, to which he erupted with anger. Thus the convo.
The kiddo listened as his mom tried to explain her position and her feelings on the matter, but eventually started pointing out his mom’s various jewelry and attempted to guilt her/imply that she was a hypocrite.
While my inclination would have been to tell him to get a job and earn his clothing, she took a different approach. She told him “If I have to start shopping at Target then so be it. It’s not about fancy stuff. It’s about our relationship.”
After the initial thought of “holy crap…they think going to Target is shopping low quality!” I was able to take two things away from the conversation.
1) Perspective makes a huge difference. Mom and I had varying perspectives which led to our natural differences in response. She took the humble route and I felt the inclination toward the prideful one. She had much and was humble. I had little and was prideful.
2) She had much and was humble. I had little and was prideful. It puts a fresh new meaning on the old statement “don’t judge a book by its cover! Just as I couldn’t tell there was something going on while sitting at the table, one must note that not everything thing is at it seems. This compels me to have mercy in new ways. Mercy that is rooted in my being willing to humble myself and to see others beyond what can be seen.
A year later, I look back on that moment and I learn those same lessons again. The context of my life has changed a lot. I have been in a place where is it easy to feel lost and like everyone else has got it together, or that I’m being looked down upon, or even that I have been forsaken by some of the people I love most. It is easy to think little of myself and to feel like I’ve failed.
These are issues of perspective and of humility.
Maybe you can relate to this. Maybe you need a change in perspective as well. The harsh truth that I’ve come to with dealing with perspective is that I must have the humility to accept that my perspective is wrong, and then the humility to get up and move to see someone else’s instead…