31 Days of Paying Attention — Day Nine


Do you see that lovely arch out there? It is the source of the name of the state park in which it is located – Natural Bridges. We drove out there from our retreat center fairly early in the morning of our first full day. Discovering that it would cost us ten bucks to drive onto the campground, we opted to go in the opposite direction, toward the parking lot right at the edge of the cliff that overlooks this rock. From that viewpoint, this is what we saw:


Do you see any sign of that lovely arch from this angle?

Nada. Zilch. Nope. 

Your point of view, your perspective, your position makes a huge difference in what you can actually see. I’ve had days, I’ve had seasons, I’ve had YEARS when parts of my life looked like a solid, dark wall. And then, a simple shift in my viewpoint, a slight difference in my perspective, a new angle of vision made all the difference in the world. 

At no point in time can we see every possibility that exists in a given situation. WE don’t have the power, the ability, the intelligence, the vantage point to make such a thing possible. But . . . there is Someone who does. There is Someone who can. Sometimes the most important thing we can do is to wait. To trust that with the passage of time and the accumulation of more experience, the gathering of more facts, the readiness to engage in more of those ongoing conversations in life, we will begin to see an old, impossibly bleak problem with freshness and new insight. Maybe that blank wall has a lovely big hole in it! Maybe we can sail our small craft of a life right on through it and come out the other side with a deeper appreciation for the beauty of a brand new view.


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  1. Margie Bicknell says

    Over the last 5 years, my husband has lost his mother to Alzheimer’s, his father to dementia, and I have been watching my mother’s decline into dementia. My husband and his sister were in one accord and while the loss of their parents was heartbreaking to us all, they were united in the care given to each of these much loved parents.

    This has not been the case in my family. Having gone through my in-laws decline and death, I have tried to tell my siblings about what was to come as our mother’s dementia continued, and what the best care could be. It took 2 years and a rough 2 days for one of my sisters to realize she could not care for Mom in her home. And this incident has both my sisters in agreement that assisted living would be a gift to our mother. My brother, however, feeds the narrative that she can die at home. And my Mom is frightened of her memory loss.

    Then my pastor preached about unity and diversity, and that Christ is the agent of change. And I realized I was basically saying Christ could not change my brother’s opinion. That Christ held my brother irredeemable.

    Wow, did my perception change. I realized I was spinning my wheels, letting my frustration stand before me like a wall that I couldn’t get over or through…..but Christ, my redeemer, can and did….with me, and who am I to believe Christ could not do the same with my brother.

    Perspective is indeed an agent of change, and Christ is the redeemer of us all.

    • Wow. Thank for this powerful story, Margie. Praying for all of you as you walk this tough road. Perhaps your brother should actually live with your mom and discover how complicated it is??

  2. Yes, our perspective does make a big difference in the way we see things. We need to remember that when obstacles seem to stand in our way. God always has an open archway somewhere!
    Blessings, Diana!

  3. Exactly, Martha. Thank you.

  4. I was just thinking about perspective earlier today. Our three year-old granddaughter and I were looking for shapes among the clouds when we picked her up from preschool. Elongated gray puffs lined up in rows to our right. I said they looked like loaves of bread to me; Elena thought they were shaped like shoes. I did not see shoes at all! Yet we were looking at the same view. I need to remember that with God I am the equivalent of a three-year old child! He is the one with wisdom, knowledge, and true perspective. P.S. ‘Appreciated your question to Margie about her brother living with his mom for a few days to gain firsthand perspective. Experience IS the best teacher!

    • Right on, Nancy. Each of sees the world slightly differently, but only God sees it all truly. Margie is a friend from long ago and dearly loved. We went to the same church for about 15 years or so, before they moved to the northwest. I am sad that her family is divided on this tough issue and really do believe that sometimes it takes trying it yourself to learn the hard lesson that elderly parents are sometimes better off in an assisted living facility. Especially when dementia is involved.