Perspective is a beautiful thing, so hard to obtain. From the window of a plane, the ocean seems a solid mass; from the ground the turbulence of the waves is the predominant scene. From the safety of the stands, a solid tackle brings shouts of joy; for the recipient, it is greeted as a violent intrusion. Through the focussed lens of daily activities, tasks can take on an urgency which distance belies. To keep things in perspective is a gift. Peter Leshack puts this same thought in a different light: All of us are watchers - of television, of time clocks, of traffic on the freeway - but few are observers. Everyone is looking, not many are seeing. Helen Keller once noted that she could think of nothing worse than having the gift of sight and not being able to see.
We were in the car on our way to examine a potential new home, when Rachel questioned from the back seat, "Will our new house be made of bricks or of straw?" An interesting question from the perspective of one who had just heard the story of the Three Little Pigs. It was a question which raised a valid concern for a three-year-old.
The past three months have offered the opportunity of a different perspective on life and ministry. The gift of being able to withdraw for a time allows the dust thrown up by daily routines to settle, so that the larger items and the broader landscape can loom more clearly into view. But that is not the whole task. It is one thing to see the broader view, yet another to interpret it (something which is best done in the context of community).
It has been a reminder to me of the importance of the sabbath rest: building into the routine a regular rime away from the life's maelstrom: a time to check the signposts in order to ensure that the direction I am travelling is where God wants me to go.
If there were a gift most precious to offer to another, it would be the gift of perspective. I thank you for offering that to us over these past three months, and pray that we might learn to share this gift more frequently with one another.
It's great to be back!
November 7, 1999
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