Over Mother's Day weekend, I dodged the raindrops and purchased flowers for the pots on my backyard patio. Completing the pots is always a big item on my list, so when I finally planted the last one and hung my hanging basket of flowers I felt a sense of accomplishment. However, it was a short-lived victory. As I looked around I could see about 10 more things that I needed to do that I wouldn't be able to do because of the weather. I went inside feeling frustrated partly because I couldn't just enjoy what I HAD accomplished and partly because I really wanted to do more.
Later that day my husband was out with our dog and he saw a lady and her young daughter walking on the path behind our house. At some point, the little girl stopped and looked at our yard and said "Wow, look at that. That yard is a wonder!" The mom paused to take a closer look, made a positive comment, and then they continued on their way. At dinner, my husband shared the story with me because he thought I would appreciate the sweet words of this little girl. Now, there is no question that my yard is not a wonder. Yes, it is landscaped and I like to plant flowers, but no reasonable adult would make that assessment. It is comical that this little girl chose that word, but for whatever reason, she saw something that caught her eye and captured her imagination. It was clear that she wasn't seeing what I was seeing when I looked at the yard. She didn't see the long list of projects that still needed to be done, she was enjoying what was already there.
Her comment stuck with me. Later on in the week, I walked on the path and looked at my house from her perspective. Did I see anything magical? No, but I also didn't see the weeds that needed to be pulled or the moss growing on the patio, or the little patch of poison ivy growing in my perennial garden. I did notice the pretty pink flowers that I had just planted and the colorful hanging basket above my garden. I took in the incredible lushness of the grass and the trees that you see only in the springtime. I saw how much my new garden area had filled in since last year with the promise of many new flowers. Nothing had changed in my yard since a few days earlier, only in my mind. Once my perspective changed, so did my view.
This is an ongoing lesson for me and many others. We want to have a positive perspective and enjoy what's happening in the moment, but somehow it seems to be easier to focus on the to-do list, what's missing, or what's next. There is a continuing struggle to stay positive and not let the negative pull you in. Oftentimes it takes a tragedy to focus our attention on what matters. What do we do when we need a change of perspective? We need to put on a pair of perspectacles-magical glasses that give you the power of perspective! Wouldn't it be nice to slip on the glasses when we sense we need an attitude adjustment?
Ok, so we probably aren't going to find these magic glasses in our local CVS. It would be so much easier if we could!
*I once have something close- a pair of sunglasses that were tinted in such a way to make everything look more colorful, more rosy, and more beautiful than they really were. I called them my rose colored glasses and I'm pretty sure the time I had those were some of my happiest years!*
But what can we do when we need a new perspective? In my case, a comment from a stranger helped change my view. The little girl made me question what I was seeing and wonder how I could see what she saw. But, I also took the time to physically change my point of view. It's like looking in the magnifying makeup mirror every day. Sure, you get an up close look at all that needs to be "fixed", but you also have to take a step back and look at the long view to see how everything looks as a whole. By taking the long view of my garden instead of the close-up view, I was able to look past the minor flaws and focus on the greater beauty. I still have the same to do list that I had before, but it feels different. Now I can see the wonder too, and not just the weeds.
I hope to apply this lesson to other areas of my life. It always seems to be easier to see the weeds, but it is so much better to look for the wonder. We don't have control over many things in this life, but we can control what we choose to look at and more importantly what we choose to see. Let's use our perspectacles to help us see the truth, beauty, love, peace, joy, kindness, and goodness that surround us every day. They are always there, you just have to be willing to look in the right place.