A Simple Matter of Perspective

Every so often we encounter someone who’s attitude and outlook is, let’s say,‘out of sorts.’  They’re everything but cheerful, friendly, and hospitable.  OK… they’re cranky, cross, and crabby… even grouchy, irritable, testy, and surly.  Obviously they have a burr under their saddle. 

It’s so easy to pont fingers, to shout ‘button up buttercup,’ and to challenge them for acting out and acting up like they are.  In times like that, we’re glad that we’re not like them!

But we are.

As children of God, most of the time we’re hard-headed children.  And as children of God, we try to think of ourselves as bright, beautiful, and as perfect as is our Heavenly Father.  But we’re not.

Sometimes, God allows some sweet soul to hear the trigger click, and they ‘go off’ with a crabby ‘bang’ that wounds us.  But… in God’s big picture (in which He knows all and everything) He’s simply using ‘crabby’ as a temporary mirror, held up before us, so that we can see a clear reflection of ourselves!

In John 8:7 Jesus said…

‘He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone’

Oops!  Do I see myself in the mirror?  Yes, I believe I do.  Sorry Lord. 

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A DIAMOND IN THE PARKING LOT

© 2019  Bill Murphy

I didn’t have my phone/camera at church this morning, so I have no photo-record to illustrate the following story.  Perhaps it’s just as well, for most folks failed to see what I saw this morning, and would have missed the message that I received.

Our church parking lot is neither asphalt nor concrete.  It’s paved with gray cinder/gravel.  Originally, this gravel was mostly about an inch in size, but over years of countless vehicles driving in and out, much of it has now been ground to the size of pea-gravel, or smaller.  Mixed in, is a sparse amount of other rock.  The front of our church facility faces north. 

This morning, I was standing at one of the front windows, looking out across the parking lot.  To my left, and perhaps three or four feet from the edge of the drive, I noticed a small glint of sunlight reflecting off of something.  There was not a cloud in the sky at that time of the morning.  This small sparkle of light was extremely bright, even though it was extremely small.  A step or two to the right or left, and the glint of light disappeared completely.  Whatever it was, it was small.  Could it be ring, perhaps a diamond lost at the edge of our parking lot? 

Amazingly, the vertical angle from which the reflection could be seen was just as critical as was the horizontal angle.  If I stooped, it again disappeared.  

I walked out to investigate.  A few steps forward, and the sparkle disappeared!  I made four or five trips out to the spot where this small glisten of light sparkled so brightly.  But I could find nothing.  As I retraced my steps each time, I focused on the spot where this reflective object must be, but as I reached the spot, I found nothing that could have caused it. 

Then I thought.  This incident was somewhat like a sailor or aviator lost at sea.  Before the days of micro-radios, they were issued small mirrors which easily fit into a shirt pocket.  These mirrors were used to reflect the rays of the sun from the individual, just a tiny speck on the vast ocean, reflecting back to searching aircraft thousands of feet overhead, or to ships which could be many miles away.  These small mirrors spotlight the location of the lost individual.

There were several things at work here: the lost soul at sea, the sun above, the small mirror, and the rescuers.  Sunday morning, what I saw was no doubt a tiny grain of silica amid all the billions of pieces of rock in the parking lot.  There was also the massive sun above millions of miles away… and there was me to witness this amazing interaction. 

The lesson I saw in that tiniest of sparkles in our church parking lot was a reminder to me of how great is our God, and how small we are.  And yet, He in his magnificent greatness, sees our needs and hears our prayers, and reflects His love back to us… a reflection which always says, “I hear, and I care!”

A Place I Always Try To Avoid

mirror

© 2017 Bill Murphy

When I first heard this topic, my immediate thought was – Across the table from my wife when she says, ‘We need to talk.’ That being interpreted as – ‘I need to hold a mirror up to you.’

We’ve had mirrors in some form or fashion since mankind first discovered vanity. The first primitive type was no doubt simply still pools of water. Then we progressed to polished stone and metal, perfecting this all important device with the invention of glass.

Yet the best mirror that money can buy, be it from Bed, Bath, and Beyond or Neiman Marcus – is imperfect. They all have a common flaw. The image we behold in the mirror is not what other’s see. Our image is reversed.

60+ years ago my childhood pal, Buddy Gorday, asked this thought-provoking question: ‘Since our image in the mirror is reversed, why isn’t it also flipped upside down?’ Of course the answer lies in the physical mechanics of optics.

But putting physics aside, don’t we all too often attempt to see an opposite and upside down image of ourselves?

There have been countless comic movies centered around the naturally aging woman of 50 who dresses, acts, and attempts to believe that she’s still 18. Yes, she uses mirrors (and plastic surgery) in her promotion of this false image. But it’s all smoke and mirrors. For all of time, time has relentlessly marched onward.

The biggest lies we tell are those we tell ourselves.

But the mirrors we use, the one from Bed, Bath and Beyond and that figurative mirror we use to see our inner self – can both expose our self-deceptions.

But like the woman in the movie, we can deceive ourselves only up to a point.

And then the wife says, “We need to talk.”

That’s an easy conservation (with the wife) compared to the one where the inner self finally awakens – or an outside spiritual entity slaps you in the face with reality and truth – and you are led to that uncomfortable place where you sit across the table from yourself.

The room is bare except for an empty table and two chairs. A bright light hangs from above, the room is thick with tension. And then the uncomfortable interrogation begins.

This will be uncomfortable.It may be painful, but believe me – it is a very, very GOOD thing. Robert Frost said it best:

Wad the gift the giftie gie us To see oursels as others see us.

Only when we are given this gift of perfect vision – can we finally see ourselves as we really are! And only when we accept this precious gift – can we understand and know!

We can know who we are.

We can know what we are.

And we can see and know what we can be!


 

 

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