"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
October 21, 2015
Our perspective of a particular situation, and the perspective of another person of that same situation, is not always one and the same. We see if from one angle, while someone else may see if from another viewpoint. Often, both people assume or think that they know the facts, therefore they must be right. Often it really doesn't matter who is right or wrong. It also doesn't matter if both people are right, but just looking at it from different vantage points, until it causes a problem; then it's not always easy to either concede that we may possibly be wrong, or that there may be two ways of looking at the same issue.
Here are two examples that recently happened to me:
A couple weeks ago, I had been grocery shopping and decided to drive through Chick-Fil-A and pick up lunch before returning home. I needed to make a left-hand turn, which is not always easy to do from the grocery store parking lot; but there is a Lowe's store adjacent to that same parking lot -- more or less. So I thought it would be wiser to drive to the end of the Lowe's parking lot, then turn onto a main street, which would take me to a stop light where I would have a left-turn arrow. Confused yet?!?
Lowe's has two entrances/exits to the street I needed to get to; one on the lower end of the parking lot and the other runs in front of the store. I decided that it would be easier to get onto the street if I took the exit that was closer to the store. There is a Walmart across the street, so you have to deal with traffic going in and out of there. I was at the lower end of the parking lot, so drove up the last lane to get to the upper exit. The problem is, at the end of each lane Lowe's has large bushes planted, which makes it difficult to see if there are vehicles driving across the area in front of the store; especially when there are cars or trucks parked near the end where those bushes are. Sure enough, the lane I was driving down had some vehicles parked close to the end, so I couldn't see whether or not there was any oncoming traffic. I put on my brake and almost came to a complete stop, but slowly rolled forward just enough where I could more easily see. After all, I didn't want to get hit.
Sure enough, there was a big pickup truck headed my way, and he was driving faster than he really should have been across a parking lot. I came to a complete stop as soon as I was able to see his vehicle. That was my perspective of the situation.
Apparently the driver of the truck had a different perspective of the situation. When he saw my car rolling forward, he must have assumed that I wasn't looking and was going to pull out in front of him. He started honking his horn at me. If re-telling someone about this exact same incident later, his viewpoint was probably along the lines that this crazy lady driver wasn't paying attention and started to pull out right in front of him!
I waited and pulled out behind him, and happened to get behind his truck at the stop light. I glanced up and noticed that the driver was making gestures with his hands and trying to get my attention. I'm not sure exactly what he was motioning to me. It was either that he was watching me or that I needed to watch him. His thinking was probably, "Lady, you need to pay attention to what you are doing!" My thought was, "Mister, I was watching you! That's why I was slowly rolling forward, so I wouldn't pull out in front of you in the parking lot!"
Same situation, but two completely different perspectives.
Then last week I had another incident, which had very different results. Honestly, I'm still going over and over this particular accident in my mind, trying to figure out what exactly happened. All I can do is tell it from my perspective, which I'm sure is different from that the other driver.
Jon and I had met at my sister, Janie's, house after he got off work. We had eaten supper with her, then he had taught Devin a science lesson; which is what we do once a week. Jon had to work out of town the following day, so was in a car from work. I had followed him most of the way home, until a big SUV got between us. It was around 8:45 or so in the evening, so was completely dark outside.
I was at the last 4-way stop right before getting to our house, so was less than a mile from home. There were vehicles coming from all four directions. I do know that there was a school bus to my right. I know that I had come to a complete stop, looked to make sure the bus had stopped, and was positive that I had glanced again to make sure all was clear. I was also sure that it was my turn to go. I had just taken my foot off the brake and put it onto the gas and started into the intersection when suddenly there was a car right in front of me. I was shocked! I slammed on my brakes, but couldn't avoid hitting their back door on the passenger side. The car went forward several feet before coming to a stop on a grassy area to my right. I called Jon and told him what had happened and told him to hurry back. He had just pulled into our driveway when I called. I'm sure I was sounding panicked! I'm fifty years old, and this is the first time I've ever been involved in an accident, with me as the driver.
From my viewpoint I could see that the other car was sitting as close as it could possibly get to an electrical pole. I wasn't sure if they had hit it or not. Thankfully, they hadn't, but the car had skid past it enough to not hit the mirror on the driver's door, then had slid over enough where it was almost touching the pole. I'm also thankful that the car hadn't hit the school bus. Two young boys got out of the vehicle. The driver was 16 and the passenger was 15. Apparently, they are too young to know that they were supposed to be upset or scared! I was sitting there shaking and upset; they got out of the car and were kind of laughing and talking to each other. A couple people ran over to make sure we were all fine, then all took off. The boys called their mom, who came. I pulled my car off the road behind where their car was. When Jon got there, he told me to go ahead and call 911 to report an accident and file a report.
Since there were no witnesses and no clear evidence of what had actually happened, I wasn't given a ticket. But since the boys were in the intersection first before I hit them, by law they had control of it, which means that we are liable for paying for their car repairs.
I have gone over this again and again in my mind!! Did I fail to look? I am always really careful at intersections and stop lights and have made it a habit to always look in all directions...two or three times... before accelerating. I am always really careful about making sure that it's my turn to go at a 4-way stop. But this one time did I fail to do so -- or fail to look to my left again after checking to make sure the bus had stopped; which is what Jon thinks likely happened? I don't know! Did the boys only come to a rolling stop (even though they told the officer that they came to a complete stop and waited their turn), thinking that the bus was going to go through the intersection, so they could go ahead and go through at the same time? But the bus didn't go straight and turned to their right. Were the boys texting.... did they have their headlights on.... were they talking and cutting up and acting like 15 and 16 year old boys and not paying close attention???? I have no idea! Only they truly know; and my guess it, if they were at fault, they're not going to tell because they don't want to get into trouble with their parents, nor did they want to get into trouble with the police when filing the report. I will probably never ever know what actually happened, and if I was the one who was truly at fault or if the boys did something wrong. Regardless, the insurance adjuster did an investigation by questioning the boys (and their parents) and by looking at pictures of the damage to their car. Her conclusion was that yes, the boys did have control of the intersection at the time of the impact, so my insurance is responsible for paying for all repairs. So right or wrong, I am the one who messed up and hit the other car, therefore, I have to pay the consequences.
We all have dealt with situations in life that, from our perspective, didn't seem fair. Perhaps something happened where we had to pay the consequences, even when we weren't sure if we were the one at fault. All facts pointed to us being the one who was responsible for a negative outcome, therefore, we were regarded as being at fault and had to pay the price.
I think the biggest issue that we deal with in that area is regarding forgiveness. It is very difficult to not hold a grudge; or refuse to forgive, therefore, holding onto the hurt; or "say" that we forgive, without ever forgetting about the incident, and bringing it up over and over again.
In most situations, we are regarding it from our perspective. I daresay that most of us rarely will go, in love, and speak to the person that has hurt or offended or disappointed us. Instead, we will look at it from our viewpoint, thinking that we are right and they are wrong. But what is the other person's perspective on the situation? Is it the same as ours? Granted, I know that there are times when we may go to the other person, and they refuse to be open and honest with us; but a lot of times, we don't even give them the opportunity to share their side of things.
There are times when people are going through difficult personal situations or health issues, that may cause them to respond to us in a way that is not intended. They may be hurting or have just received bad news or are battling depression or are dealing with heartbreaking family issues...... and they say things to us in a manner that is not intended. Or we may see them and they fail to speak to us or wave to us, and we take it that they are being rude; but in truth, they may have had a lot on their mind at that time and failed to see us, even when it seems as if they're looking right at us.
One time I was riding in a vehicle with someone and we pulled into a parking space at a shopping center. The person I was with said, "Did you see that lady in the car next to us? She just gave me a really dirty look!" I asked if she knew who it was.... no.... but she was sure that the lady had given her a dirty look. I hadn't been paying attention, so don't know if that was true or not. Possibly the lady was thinking, "I can't believe I just spend $100 at Walmart! My husband isn't going to be happy with me! I can't believe how expensive everything cost!!" She may not have even noticed who was in the car next to her, of if there even was anyone inside the car next to her. She may have just had a lot on her mind and didn't realize she was frowning or looking upset or giving "dirty" looks. I'm sure that I look like I'm in a bad mood when I leave Walmart or the grocery store, more times than not!!
There have been times in our marriage when I have inadvertently hurt Jon's feelings. I will use a tone of voice that sounds gruff or short-tempered, and Jon perceives that I'm upset with him or think that he's done something that I don't like. More times than not, that is not the case at all. Generally, Jon knows when I'm not happy with him; which thankfully, isn't very often! I will be thinking about something else and have no idea that I sounded like I was mad or abrupt or grumpy, until he will later bring it up. I had no idea that his feelings were hurt or that my tone of voice had caused him to think that I was upset with him.
Other times we've been at big family affairs, and Jon has thought that I was being rude or didn't want him to join in with the conversation that I was having; which isn't true. Honestly, in my immediate family -- as well as with my Parton relatives - we all may talk at the same time and move around and visit, and if someone walks up we may turn around and start an entirely different conversation from the one we were just having. We can jump from topic to topic without taking a breath! We may be sitting at a table and have two or three conversations going on at the same time. That's how we've always been, how I grew up, and to me that is totally normal and I think nothing about it. The Parton family (therefore, my family) are big talkers... big storytellers... big conversationalist.... and we all like to talk and can carry on numerous conversations at a time -- or so it seems! It's not like that with Jon's family. He grew up with his mom being hard of hearing, which meant that only one person talked at a time and they all looked at that person and paid attention to what they were saying. They didn't interrupt or turn away or have numerous conversations going on at a time. Jon's perception of my family was that we were rude and didn't pay attention or listen and interrupted; and my perception was that we are perfectly normal and all just liked to talk!
The next time that you see someone and they don't speak to you, or they give you a "look" that you perceive as being hateful, or they use a tone of voice that you find offensive, or they don't give you a hug or shake your hand at church, or they turn their back on you when you're talking to them, or they fail to return your phone call, or don't get back with you when they say that they will, or seem impatient or short-tempered......... ask yourself if perhaps there is a reason for that. Do they have something heavy on their heart, or thinking about a family situation, or busy, or waiting for a doctor report, or scared, or depressed, or forgetful, or thinking about where they're supposed to be or what they need to get done that day, or just daydreaming? They may not realize that they offended you or were short-tempered or sounded gruff or didn't look at you or failed to respond to you. Ask yourself how many times you've done those exact same things, which may have caused someone to think badly of you or think that you were ignoring them or being rude or didn't want to talk to them. There are always two sides to a coin!
We can also feel this way about God. Sometimes we may feel like we've prayed and prayed about something, but He is ignoring us or not paying attention or is refusing to answer our prayer. But what is God's perspective on the situation? He always hears our prayers and knows the cries of our heart. Perhaps He has something better in store for us than what we're asking for. Perhaps His answer is not what we want to hear. Perhaps God knows that the timing is not perfect and we need to wait. And perhaps we may never understand God's perspective. That's when we have to choose to trust Him and put our faith in Him; knowing that God loves us and will always take care of us.
As an engineer, I'm used to looking at different perspectives. Most of the formulas we use come in several perspectives. We define velocity as the distance something travels divided by the time it takes to travel, or v=d/t. But we use the same thing as distance = velocity * time, or d=v*t. Or we use t=d/v. They are all the same thing, but the perspective you need depends on what you know and what you want to learn. They are all correct.
I had a strong suspicion what happened during Loretta's wreck. I hadn't considered the possibility that the other driver didn't have their headlights on. That skews my suspicion. That sounds like the most likely case. But we won't know, and even if we did, it wouldn't change the results. I don't like not knowing, but I've learned to accept it when I know I can't know.
It's also hard for me not understanding God. But I know that I won't know in this life, so I move on. There are a lot of people who take not understanding as proof that God doesn't exist. That's just absurd, but it won't change, either. Strangely, it's usually these same people who believe in gravity, even though they don't know whether gravity travels as a wave or particle, or simply exists without having to move.
The point is, don't dismiss God simply because He can't be understood well. He doesn't need to be understood, only loved.
Fried Round Steak
Cube Steak (round steak that's been extra tenderized)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon seasoned salt (I like Lawry's Seasoned Salt)
3 teaspoons black pepper, or to taste
Salt, for seasoning meat
1/2 cup Canola Oil (more if needed)
2 Tablespoons butter
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Mix together flour, seasoned salt, and pepper. Season both sides of steaks with salt and pepper. Dredge each piece of meat in flour mixture, pressing to coat with as much flour as possible. Add butter to pan right before frying. When butter is melted, fry pieces of steak in butter/oil mixture. Flip when sides are deep golden brown and cook about 1-2 minutes on the other side, until golden brown. Remove to a paper towel lined plate. Serve immediately.
This can be served with mashed potatoes and gravy or you can use the meat and make it into sandwiches.
My sister, Janie, recently bought a new clock that has Roman numerals on it. Her granddaughter, Abigail, spent the night with her over the weekend. This is a conversation they had about the clock:
Abigail: "Grandma, is your clock old fashioned?"
Janie: "No, not really. It does have Roman numerals, which is a very old way to write numbers."
Abigail: "Well, we have a really old clock at our house that is kind of rusty. It's from the 1990's!"
It's all a matter of perspective!!
"The Greatest Man in history is Jesus. He had no servants, yet they called Him Master. He had no degree, yet they called Him Teacher. He had no Medicines, yet they called Him Healer. He had no army, yet kings feared Him. He won no military battles, yet He conquered the world. He committed no crime, yet they crucified Him. He was buried in a tomb, yet He lives today." - unknown
We love you!
Loretta & Jon