Riding down the interstate last week, my youngest son started laughing hysterically, “Mama, look at that truck! Why are we going backwards?” I followed his finger and looked at the semi-truck to our right. Either I slowed down, he sped up or maybe we just had perfect timing; but it really did look like we were moving backwards. We laughed at the odd coincidence and talked about how sometimes things may appear a certain way, but it may not always be as it seems.
From my vantage point, though, as the driver, looking straight ahead, I was moving forward. From his spot in the backseat, the perspective was totally different and it honestly seemed like we were moving backwards. Our perspective on life depends on what seat we happen to be occupying.
Let’s examine a road trip with my husband, as an example. As the driver, I am aware of the reasons why I do certain things, like, say, accidentally drive off the side of the road. Instead of swerving back onto the road and possibly overcorrecting, I might let my car stay in the grass a little bit longer. After several potholes, rough terrain, and some rocks, I slowly ease back onto the highway and resume the calm, peaceful ride. From my perspective, life is good and an accident was averted. My husband, on the other hand, thinks I have lost control, begins stomping his imaginary brakes, grabs the “wait-a-minute” handle, and begins yelling in my direction, thinking I have fallen asleep. Same scenario, but two totally different perspectives.
Our perspectives on life’s situations are different as well. Your best friend hears about your promotion at work and wants to throw a party, while inside all you can think about is the added stress, workload and hours this new promotion will require. You are thankful for the pay increase, but is it really worth it? Or maybe a loved one has been sick for a very long time and all they talk about is finally going home. To them, death is a welcomed next step, but to all of their friends and family, death will mean a gaping hole and buckets of tears. Or maybe we take a look at the playground kickball game. The captains take turns picking players with the best skills. They are thinking about winning and being the best; but what about the kid that was chosen last? He doesn’t care about winning or losing, he just wants to be included and have a chance. Same scenarios, different perspectives.
It’s easy to view life through one set of lenses. I’m guilty. There are times when it seems easier to just keep driving, looking straight ahead, and moving forward; but if I would take the time to sit in the backseat and view the scenery from a different vantage point, I might just realize that I am actually going backwards. I need to step back from time to time and look at things from someone one else’s perspective. What a narrow, selfish world I would live in if I only viewed life from the front seat.
It’s all about perspective.