Have you ever gone through a rough time and found that years later, you’re able to laugh about it? That’s called perspective. Things look different from a distance than when we’re in the thick of the batter (pun intended).
A large oak tree in my back yard has limbs reaching from one side of the yard to the other, almost mingling with the branches of the another tree behind the garage. I’m entertained by the squirrels chasing each other along the branches, racing up and down the trunks, or scampering across a roof. I envy their skill and speed, their fearlessness as they leap several feet in the air from one branch to another, like circus acrobats performing without a safety net.
One morning when they were particularly active, I saw a perfect metaphor for our own travels. We scurry back and forth on roads and highways, driving to and fro to accomplish our daily tasks. Imagine a set of directions if we had to travel the squirrels’ route.
“Follow the two-lane upper east branch to the end, then hop onto the single-lane that takes you past the main intersection. Go west on the lower branch and that’ll lead you to the shortcut across the roof…”
Sort of gives a new meaning to the term highways.
I notice the lizards too have an expressway. Up and down the drainpipe they go, zipping (or stalling) along the tunnel between the house and the pipe. The sides of the drainpipe seem to be a passing lane, while the outer surface offers a scenic overlook where they can study the surrounding wildlife and plants.
It makes me think about the paths we travel, and the perspectives we gain along the way. Are we stuck in a tunnel with only two ways to go? Or are we taking the high road, chasing and leaping and racing along from one limb to the next without a safety net? Neither one is ideal. Each is necessary from time to time. Both give us a different perspective.
Sometimes, when it feels like we’re in a tunnel with an engine light coming at us, or if we’re on the ground and the only way we can look is up, a different perspective can make all the difference. And then maybe we won’t have to wait five years to laugh about it.
What’s your perspective today?