Perspective

When I was about three years old, we lived in a great, big house with a huge backyard that had about a 100-foot long slope on it, perfect for sledding, although it was steep. A ski lift would have been helpful in getting up that hill. Or that’s what I thought. When I visited there as an adult, I discovered a small, cottage-type house, with a small backyard that had a small, maybe eight-foot-long slope and a bit of a yard beyond. Really, it was just a berm. I was shocked. If you had asked me before I visited there to describe the place, I would have told you about the great big house with the huge yard and steep hill.

This experience was an object lesson for me. I try to remember it when dealing with little ones, because I remember being scared one winter day when my Dad offered to throw me down the hill in the snow—for fun. Fun! HA! He had already pitched my big sister Kathy and my cousins Marlene and Delma down the hill. I couldn’t understand how they enjoyed the experience of rolling down that huge, extremely steep hill! They were so brave!

I also remember an incident in the ballroom-sized room on the second floor of our house when my cousins Wilma and Peggy were spending the night. Peggy and I begged and begged Wilma to read us a story before we went to sleep. After all, she was a grown-up (probably nine or ten years old.) She finally gave in, I realize now, to shut us up, and began reading the story of The Three Bears at high speed.

Wilma stood there, across the room from our bed, with Peggy and me clustered around her to see the pictures, her hand twitching on the light switch as she read at triple-fast speed: “Someone’s-been-eating-my-porridge,”-growled-the-Papa-bear.-“Someone’s-been-eating-my-porridge,”-said-the-Mama-bear.-“Someone’s-been-eating-my-porridge-and-they-ate-it-all-up!”-cried-the-Baby-bear.

We asked her, politely I’m certain, to slow down, but only got a “Do you want me to finish this or not?” in response. Wilma continued: “Someone’s-been-sleeping-in-my-bed-and-she’s-still-there!”-exclaimed-Baby-bear.-Just-then,-Goldilocks-woke-up-and-saw-the-three-bears.-She-screamed,-“Help!” (Big gulp of air) And-she-jumped-up-and-ran-out-of-the-room.-Goldilocks-ran-down-the-stairs,-opened-the-door,-and-ran-away-into-the-forest.-And-she-never-returned-to-the-home-of-the-three-bears.-The-End. CLICK!

Instantly, there was pitch black darkness, punctuated with the cries of frightened three-year-old pests. I couldn’t walk the vast expanse of that room (which of course you realize, was actually a small, dormer room) in the dark! Knowing Wilma now, I would say she turned the light back on as we trekked to the bed. But, knowing her then, I wouldn’t bet that big house on it.

All this to say, we really should be able to extend grace and understanding to each other, since everyone’s perspective on life is so different. We can’t accurately judge the magnitude of anyone’s problems, including our own, because problems grow and shrink with our ability to deal with them from day to day. So I invite you, just take a deep breath, look up, and give all your problems to the God who loves you and sees everything from an eternal perspective.

Don’t miss the rest of the Stories My Family Tells as I Write 31 Days this October. Click here to check out the wide range of topics from a wide range of writers.

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