The Healing Power of Perspective

14 12 2011

“Life is difficult.”

Really?

Thus begins M. Scott Peck’s excellent book, The Road Less Traveled.  Peck then makes the strong point that a good deal of our unhappiness is rooted in an unrealistic expectation—namely, that life should be Heaven on Earth.  Nirvana.  Grey Havens.  Shangri-la.  We tend to expect life to be problem-free and then are upended when life poses challenges.  Lots of them.

A wrong perspective about life in a fallen world is a setup for disillusionment and unhappiness.  But it need not be that way.

One of the things I love about flying is sitting 30,000 feet above the ground, looking out the window and realizing just how small we all are and how big the world is.  It puts things in perspective.  In the valley you don’t see the lay of the land the way you do from the mountain top.

I’m learning that a proper perspective about anything has a healing quality about it.  As a Christian, I believe we live in a world that was marred when man first chose to disobey his Creator.  A fallen world.  God essentially told Adam that, as a result of his disobedience, “life is going to be difficult from now on.”  You can read about that in Genesis 3.  But even in the difficulty, God promised meaning and His presence.

Perspective: Working in a sometimes tedious job may try your patience and sanity, but not having a job is far worse.  Just ask the millions of Americans out of work.

Perspective: Winter snow and cold may be inconvenient here in northern New York, but it does help insulate the ground and homes as well as replenish the water table.  That’s more important than you know.  Just ask people in states and countries ravaged by drought.

Perspective: Teenage drama may drive you at times to distraction but you at least have teenagers to drive you there.  Just ask the parents of an 18-year-old princess who died in a tragic car accident just miles from here the other day.  Her family and friends—my two daughters among them—are beside themselves with grief.

The next time you’re tempted to despair and frustration, remember that life is difficult.  But it’s these difficulties that teach us to solve problems and have something really valuable to give to a world in pain.

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2 responses

14 12 2011
Tom

Good word bro. Man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upwards. In this world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, Christ has overcome the world.

14 12 2011
Christian Fahey

Thanks Tom. Reality is a good cure for unnecessary disillusionment and a great support for the concept of original sin and need of a redeemer.

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