Are You Viewing Life Through a Wide Angle Lens or Is your Vision Obstructed

Tuesday, August 11, 2020
We all live under the same sky but we all don't have the same horizon.
-Konrad Adenauer

How big is your view of what's happening outside your walls?  I live in a neighborhood where the trees are very mature.  They tower above my house on three sides and on the fourth side, my neighbor's trees are so high that even that view is obstructed.  Consequently when I gaze up from any window, I can only see a small piece of sky, the sky above me, not the horizon in any direction.  Sometimes that limited view is enough to know what it's like outside, but other days that sparse view doesn't really give me an accurate reading of the conditions beyond my field of vision.




This plays out every morning when I'm on my daily call with my mom....Me:  "It's pretty cloudy out".  Mom: "Oh not here, the sky is blue".  Mom's view is just as limited as mine in her apartment complex, so she can only see a sliver of sky too.  Yet each morning we do this dance, her and I, and rarely do our assessments of the sky ever match even though she lives just five miles away.  It often plays out on evenings like tonight when the eastern sky looks blue and dreamy but the western sky is dull grey from the approaching storms.  A few days ago, John and I were debating about whether or not to take a ride.  Now certainly the condition of the sky would not hinder a ride in any way, but ya'll know me well enough to know if I'm going for a ride, taking photos is a routine part of the program.  A dull, milky sky doesn't beckon me out of the house as much as a bright blue sky that's dotted with puffy white clouds does.  Just like my morning calls with my mom, John and I do this 'shall we go, shall we not dance' frequently, sometimes for hours on any given day - debating whether or not the sky is picture worthy. 

One day recently when we decided to just go and give it a shot, I had a little epiphany. Our little window of perspective made it look like a pretty mediocre day out.  Yes, there was some glimpses of the patchwork sky, but the clouds looked ordinary and I doubted there was anything spectacular to photograph.  As we turned from our neighborhood onto the open expanse of the busy thoroughfare, we were both amazed at the view.  Bright blue skies were dotted with big, marshmallow clouds, in every direction.  Instead of the mediocre day we pictured based on our tiny, limited perspective, life outside our window view was brimming with beauty and promise.  Had we based our day on that limited view, we would have stayed in and would have missed so much, but instead we gambled on the promise and possibility and ventured out to see the world through a larger lens.

Life itself is not unlike my perspective of the sky.  How often do we make judgments or decisions based on limited facts or other people's perspectives?  How often do we come to conclusions or form opinions based on limited resources - social media posts, memes, news stories, etc...?  In the busy times we live in, times filled with so many distractions and demands, fears and challenges, we are so often tempted to draw quick conclusions.  We are bombarded by information in the media, emotions and opinions of our friends on social media and often don't have or take the time to really look at the whole picture to know for sure if the conclusion or opinion we have settled on is really one based on a 'complete view' of the facts or one that has been influenced by a bunch of fragmented information by a variety of sources.  Is our opinion really our own or is it a compilation of stuff, some of it 'fake news' that we rely on in lieu of drawing our own conclusion based on our own research?

Friends, we live in a complicated world, a world where modern technology makes life more efficient but maybe it also makes us sacrifice, sometimes things we ought not be sacrificing like our own views.  We must be careful to examine our perspective, whether that perspective is the view out our window or what we watch or read on TV or social media.  We need to be cautious in letting that perspective rule our choices, bias our opinions or cloud our judgement of others.  We need to go out of our way to broaden our view and see the whole picture, not just the limited view we settle on from our recliner.  We need to stop sharing fake news and hateful posts that do nothing but insight anger and frustration.   We need to stop trying to persuade others to see the world through our lens and let them choose their own path based on their own perspective.  Better yet, we need to stop living in the light of our computers and phones and get out and enjoy the view that is not debatable.  We need to focus on the things that bring us peace and gratitude.  When we do that, repeatedly, we'll realize that all the other noise is just that - noise that is meant to divide us and cloud our thinking.  Walk away from the noise and focus on that which can't be argued or criticized and just stop and ask yourself, "What really matters and whose opinion am I basing my answer on?"
I see some pretty awesome things out my window, although a narrow view......


But I can really see and appreciate a lot more when I open my eyes and mind to what's beyond my immediate perspective.  Here's a little window into the view we saw on our ride that day.......



Maybe it's time we all broaden our perspective and take a closer look at the big picture.  Maybe it's time we stop making judgments based on a pinhole view defined by others.  Maybe it's time we expand our horizons and live in a world based on our own ideas and values.  Maybe it's time to choose our own view instead of relying on the views of others.  Maybe it's time!
Life is only a reflection of what we allow ourselves to see.

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