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Monday, March 26, 2012

What's Your Perspective?

There is a local church that hosts an event for the community's school children every August for the past few years. Our church has participated with support and volunteers. This is a free event offering school supplies, shoes and haircuts for all children in the community. It's a party atmosphere. There are game booths, food and beverages. It's an amazing effort to help out with no questions asked.

Coming from the perspective of someone who struggles living paycheck to paycheck or thinner, this is an event my family has been incredibly grateful for. I have personally also volunteered and the reward of watching these children come through and choose their supplies is indescribable. They are thankful, humble, relieved. The parents are the same and more. I did not witness one person come through that seemed insincere.

So it came as a huge shock to me today to learn that this event and more specifically our church's support of it has been a touchy topic with some people. I had to step out of my own perspective and try to see it. I think from years of working with the public in retail and then in banking I have an ability to see things from both sides of the fence. This morning as I contemplated the other side it saddened me. The only things I could think of were not very Christian mindsets.

I could see how maybe some could be critical that the supplies are being offered with no questions asked. We know that in this world there are opportunists who would take advantage of free no matter what, I guess. But I like to give people the benefit of doubt and say that there are few and far between who would do this. If I had encountered a naysayer I would have put it this way: if background information on their finances were required think of how many fewer children would be helped because their parents are too proud to admit they need help. Or how many would stay away for fear that someone they know would see them and instantly know their income was below $XYZ? In truth there are many more reasons why this should be offered the way it is rather than any requirements being fulfilled. It's not about the money. It's about serving our fellow man, no strings, no questions, just love. Unconditional love. That's what we are called to give to all men.

Perspective is a funny thing, no two people have exactly the same one. They may have similar views across many topics but we are all unique. To an overweight person it may be a flippant thing to call themselves fat or plump. To an obese individual these words hurt to even think about. Terms like that are a ball and chain that weigh them down and make them feel hopeless, worthless and unwanted.

Sports fans have different perspectives too. They have perspectives on who the best of the best are. They have perspective on what is being done wrongly. They have perspectives on the cost of everything. To one fan the behind the scenes people are just that, out of sight out of mind. To another, those folks who don't get as much recognition are the real superstars. Best teams, best athletes, what makes a real sport, the list could go on and you'd have just as many people on one side as you would on the other in almost every debate.

Life. There are tons of perspectives on life! Good, bad and in between we all see life differently. We all see our lives differently. To the outsider, our lives may appear perfect when the truth may be our family is breaking, someone is sick or the mortgage can't get paid this month. There are realists who look at the situation and say well this could happen but the likelihood is more this. While the pessimist in the room will say, that will never happen. In pipes the optimist who promptly smiles and says of course it can happen and we're gonna help it along. 

I could keep going, in fact in my head I had to cut at least two more topics to show perspectives on! I think the bottom line I'm reaching for has to do with compromising our perspective. If everyone took a moment to step back and see the issue at hand from the other side I think we would find the road to compromise would be come a less rocky path. Sure sometimes we would still have to agree to disagree on a few points but overall, can you even try to imagine a world where we embraced opposing perspectives and learned from them?

Thankful for: Excedrin Migraine. Or the Wal-Mart version anyway! 
Second thanks: my wonderful family who spoiled me while I was down & out.

Lessons Learned: 
*When Momma Bear is sick the house does not get cleaned. This is a sad fact.
*A Sunday afternoon nap is wonderful until you can't get to sleep Sunday night.
*Working out is not a good idea when you already can't sleep.
*A good work out gets my brain flowing and the writing comes naturally and quickly. 
*Saying music is a part of my soul is like saying I need oxygen to breath. It's not just soothing, it doesn't just touch my heart, it's a feeling I get through my entire existence that I wish I could share with the world!

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