Change Your Perspective
Distance distorts reality. If you have ever flown on a plane, you know this to be true. As a plane ascends to 30,000 feet, the change in perspective always fascinated me. At this height, I was always given a perspective I would never get the chance to experience. From this vantage point, I was able to take in all that there was to see. Everything seemed so peaceful, the terrain looked more beautiful, and the cities were stunning both during the day and night at this distance. Despite everything I saw, experience told me that this perception did not always fit reality.
One of the most obvious things I observed was just how small we are in the grand scheme of things. As I looked down at the individual homes, I thought to myself, “From here, they look like lanterns.” As I thought about it more, I realized that each light was so much more. Each light represented someone’s home. Hopefully these homes were a place of safety and security, a place were memories were created and lives are being changed. These homes could also have been places of pain, heartache and suffering. From my view, it was impossible to tell.
This perspective really hit home for me during a military deployment. This deployment was taking me into Bosnia on a special trip to deliver some items to a unit located there. I was amazed at the peacefulness of the scenery as we took flight. The lush green grass and beautiful landscape was straight out of an artist’s painting. But as we got closer to our landing zone and started to make our decent, the demeanor of the flight crew changed. It was an attitude of vigilance and complete awareness of the situation we were flying into. As I took a peek outside the window, I saw numerous battered homes and buildings. I quickly understood why the flight crew remained attentive to the situation.
I thought about what those homes represented. Those homes used to provided safety and security but that was no longer possible because of the numerous bullet holes and crumbling foundations. These homes were no longer creating memories. I imagined that if the owners survived, they are most likely in a camp of some sort seeking refuge from the tragedy of war.
I wouldn't even be able to see the destruction until we got closer to the ground. From a distance, things always seem so peaceful, so safe, and so beautiful. The reality was that the closer I got to the situation, the tragic truth was revealed. I would later spend some time in those refugee camps; bringing aid and fellowship to the victims of war. This made my experience even more personal and to this day, I have never forgotten that in order to see a situation for what it really is, I too have to give up some safety and security. I have to remove the distance that distorts reality. In order to bring understanding to its proper place, I too must see things from other's perspective.
So the next time you say to yourself, “It doesn’t seem that bad” or “I don’t understand why they just don’t…” ask yourself, “What distance or barrier needs to be removed, to understand what someone is going through?” Is the distance so far that you cannot even hear their cries for help? Is the distance so far that you cannot see the tragedy surrounding them? If so, I encourage you to get to a point where you can reach out and touch that individual or situation. See the person and situation from their perspective instead of what you have seen from a distance. It is only then that you or I can make a difference that matters.
So what’s next?
Did someone or something come to mind as you read this blog?
If so, I encourage you to get closer to that person or that situation so that you can start making a difference.