The ability to perceive things in their actual interrelations or comparative importance.
I gained perspective while I was away at camp. Or rather I regained it. I had somehow lost it somewhere along the way. Or maybe it had just been drowned out by the noise coming from my cell phone, computer, satellite TV, etc. It becomes a lot easier to hear God when there aren’t quite as many distractions.
On Monday we started work on Mrs. Florence’s house. Mrs. Flo had had a difficult time recently. Her husband passed away on Christmas Eve of last year and she had recently lost her 92 year old mother. Mrs. Flo was obviously used to taking care of others and didn’t seem quite comfortable letting others take care of her.
Part of our students started painting her home while others worked to finish a small porch outside her back door which would give her safe access in and out of the house. I helped coordinate a crew to do some yard work and landscaping. We worked to clear out flowers beds that looked as if they had, at one time, been cared for, but were now neglected.
At one point I went in Mrs. Florence’s house to charge my cell phone. I was determined to keep a little static going in the clear, quite of the Tennessee mountains. And besides, I told myself, I was a chaperone and I needed to keep myself available to parents in case of emergency. It was obvious Mrs. Florence was hungry for company so I sat down for a short visit.
She explained that she had built the rock wall that lined the bank where we had been pulling weeds and planting new flowers. Evidently she had been watching us from her kitchen window. It was clear that gardening was something she had one time enjoyed but due to physical ailments was no longer able to do so. It was also clear that she missed being able to get outside and work in her gardens. Her tearful thanks were full of gratitude and regret.
My heart ached for this woman; someone I didn’t know, but someone who clearly realized she would never be able to do the things she once could. The run down, overgrown condition of the property confirmed that. But she seemed determined to still do for others as she proudly explained how she was taking care of her 6 month old great-grandson while her granddaughter worked nights at the front desk of the local motel.
I felt my perspective shifting. I was beginning to see things differently. More clearly. And my eyes stung from the tears.
To be continued…