The recent horrific events in Japan have caused us all to stop, pray, grieve, pray some more, breathe a sigh of relief that it was there and not here, and then to continue on with our lives. Even with the daily reminders on the news and Internet, it is easy to once again get busy with that stuff in our lives, thus forgetting the pain and grief that others are going through. I don’t write this as words of condemnation to any of you, but of words of truth for my own life. Sadly, my attention span to things outside my little bubble is rather short.
The morning of the earthquake and then tsunami in Japan, a dear friend awoke to hear that the tsunami was about to hit Hawaii, which happens to be where her husband is working… and living feet from the beach. You can only imagine her panic and fear and worry. Upon hearing that the wave was actually quite small and he was safe, she breathed a huge sigh of relief that her husband was fine. Then it hit her. What about the thousands upon thousands of people in Japan that were not? While that seemed tragic to her initially, her perspective changed when it became about her loved one. I think her perspective shifted several times in that one day.
Nearly a decade ago, my sweet step daughter was in a horrific, life-changing accident that altered the course of her life forever. Mine too, for that matter. As we sat day after day in the ICU at Washoe Memorial Trauma Center, our perspective was greatly shifted. Suddenly, the day to day things in life that worried us seemed so small and insignificant. We prayed and watched and prayed some more. As a machine reading would change for the better, we would rejoice! Normally, a half a degree in body temperature would be no big deal, but when it is a matter of it coming down from 104.6 to 104 (very common with a traumatic brain injury)…. now that was HUGE! It was all about perspective.
I had a lot of time to think about the many things in my day to day life that troubled me or caused me worry or made me sad. Then I would look over at sweet Lyssa and my perspective would change. I had let so many things take over my life in the form of worry, fear, jealousy, anger, frustration, and sadness. Then when I would look at her monitors and see her blood pressure go down to a more comfortable level or see her move her hand… now that caused a HUGE shift in my perspective. What kinds of hurdles was I trying to jump over each day? If you knew me in junior high track, you would know that I was NOT good at hurdles. Those hurdles got the best of me every time! So, here I sat with an entire Olympic Stadium of hurdles sitting in front of me and I had to decide which ones I needed to jump over and which ones I just needed to clear away or walk around. Perspective. I was also now forced to eat, sleep, cry, rejoice, and just share common space with her mom. She had not spoken to or acknowledged me most of the 4 years that I had been married to Lyssa’s dad. Now to be 24/7 with her changed both of us… for the better. It’s all about perspective…
Sometimes it takes life-changing events to shift our perspective or it might be a tiny little thing that jars us a bit. When life gets really tough for me, I can always count on the fact that someone else has it worse off than I do. If I stick to that perspective, then things come into focus and I can decide if said event or emotion is really worth giving time to. When I think about the idea that someone always has it worse off than me it begins to look like domino’s. I’d really hate to be the poor guy that has if worse off than all the rest of us and sits at the end of the domino pile.
What is your perspective on life today? Is it different from yesterday? Do you need to change any of it? I know I do! I’d rather not have any more life-changing events happen to help me along the way with my perspective… unless of course it is winning the lottery! Every day when I put my feet on the floor, I need to put my life into the proper perspective to get the day started. For me, that is where I go and sit at the feet of my heavenly Papa… he’s the best at helping me do that!
My sweet Lyssa is about to graduate from LLU with a master’s as a Child Life Specialist! She still lives with the repercussions of a TBI, but has climbed mountains and will soon be blessing the lives of children in long term care and rehabilitation, just as she was blessed when she was recovering from that life changing event nearly a decade ago that shifted her perspective.