The picture above is a good example. It’s a beautiful geode, isn’t it? Except, geodes don’t have technicolor striations. If I had taken the pic in it’s natural habitat and shown the backside instead of this one on a jewelers mat, you’d see that it’s actually a chunk of built up paint from an old automotive plant. It’s earned its own name: “Fordite.” Rare and collectible. Even used in jewelry making..But, technically-garbage. **edited to add: my geology major son says its confused with agates which are striated and created in a similar way of building up layers. Bonus geology lesson for you, you’re welcome.) This is one of the positive things about a shift in perspective. You can view beauty that otherwise goes unnoticed or cast off as garbage.The pic above is a picture I take every year on our family vacation. We drive to Glen arbor and pose in the same spot. See the pic from seven years ago below to compare.
Beautiful, aren’t they? (Of course those are my guys so I’m prejudiced.) here’s the thing. This years picture is misleading. It’s not just a weather change.Look closely. It’s a different view. My husband was too sick and in too much pain to make the drive and walk to our regular spot. Instead-we set up in front of the Pinestead Reef Resort- where we’ve been staying forever for the shot. You also can’t see his walker or cane he now relies on, both are just out of view. If only I could edit cancer out of our lives like I can medical stuff from pictures. However, I got the picture I was looking for. This is a gorgeous shot…. But it feels “off.” That’s because I was standing sidewise on the dune. I didn’t edit the horizon line. Hate that. I did however, have to wait a long time to get a shot without random people in it. Looks like I had all of the dunes to myself, doesn’t it? Nope. Labor Day weekend. Enough said. I had to work hard to see what I wanted to. But, I did.This is a trick shot.. I pretend I’m in Hawaii when I see this. I’m not. Same spot on Lake Michigan. Sleeping bear dunes. Here’s a shot with some random chick I didn’t edit out. Just not the same, is it?
This could be cropped to look like a castle wall- instead I left it. It’s just a retaining wall in a parking lot. Pretty, but not a castle.
Perspective. Whether it’s through a camera lens that gives you control of what you see and don’t, or the perspective we all have that comes from our vision and our understanding and opinions- is pretty amazing. It can also be misleading.
Confession: my perspective is- I’m always right. Unless proven wrong, and I’m pretty hard to convince that I’m wrong. Ask my husband. I’m pretty good at seeing things that build my case and ignoring those that challenge it. Sometimes it’s over something as silly as a Jeopardy answer or, as serious as a biblical view. I AM RIGHT. Here, let me show you my perspective… Then I share the edited version.the one from my point of view. Voila! See? I AM right. Unless you’re like me, too. Then we may have a stand off. Me showing you my perspective and you sharing yours, neither of us really open to or seeing the whole picture.
I’ve wasted time and energy arguing my perspective. I’ve also done damage to relationships and hurt people in my endeavor to “edit them” until they see things my way. Sadly, There are people who aren’t in my picture anymore because we’ve both been so narrow focused that we couldn’t stand in the same shot. We left no room for each other.edited each other out.
I will always love photography, but I refuse to continue to try to edit everything and everyone to fit my perspective.
Why? Because when I’m so convinced I’m right that i can’t even see the potential of being wrong on the horizon, I have entered a danger zone. A place where I start to only see things the way I want to. Everything proves my point. Or, proves you’re wrong. I see whatI’m looking for, not always what’s there.
Our heart and mind’s lenses may be set to macro and we may miss the whole view, or set to panorama and we miss tiny, gorgeous details. They may be tinted rose colored and everything looks happy. Or – they could be stuck on black and white and everything is shades of dreary. (Except, I love black and white photography so fir me that’s kinda a lie- lets go with the generalization. K?)
When I’m depressed, everything is depressing. When I like someone, I like what they say. When I don’t? They could say the very same thing as someone else, but I’ll disagree. Just. Because: Perspective.
Lately I’ve been really cautious of my perspective. I know how easily perspective can be skewed and I know how dangerous it is to refuse to let my perspective be shifted by little things like “God, truth and reality.”
My husband and I have been arguing like dorks as of late. For the most part? Because of differences of perspective and refusal to see things from the other’s point of view. Yesterday we down sat with a therapist for a perspective tube up. (oncology psych visit. Who knew there was such a thing?) The therapist helped us see each other’s side. She helped us listen and express, without arguing. And dang if we both didn’t leave with different perspectives! We could have been wrong about each other’s motives. I can’t confirm that because: HIPPA.
I wonder what the world would be like if we took off our filters and stopped cropping and editing out things we don’t like or agree with and tried to see and hear things for what they are, instead of what we think they are? How would our relationships change? Our schedules? (It’s possible I’m convinced I have 26 hours per day while the rest of you have 24, I’m special like that. Or insane like that. Depends on your perspective;)
What about our ministries and daily lives? Our casual interactions? Our experiences in traffic? (My perspective in traffic is everyone around me are idiots, for the most part. Which is sometimes true, but not always.) How about the way we read scripture? What if I stopped reading it to prove my points and started reading it as written? (Ouch, I know, right?)
I have a feeling that if we tried just a few of these, we’d change our perspectives of God and each other, and maybe just maybe by doing so- change the world just a bit. With loving responses instead of anger. With real perspectives not just the ones we want to see.
The thing is- I’m so used to doing all this stuff that I need help- or new glasses. Maybe both.
Dear Jesus, let your words truth and perspective be my reality. Help me to always recognize my ability to be wrong. Help me to see others the way you do, and to let that perspective form my reactions. Thank you for letting me see how I create my desired perspective and how my default perspective (I’m right, so you’re wrong.) can be damaging to myself and others. Lead me always in your wisdom. I love you lord, amen. Ps- nice job on Lake Michigan and the sleeping bear dunes, your capacity to and graciousness in creating beauty is incredible.