It is amazing to me that we can look at the same thing, the same event, and all see something different. Some of us are armed with the proper gear and see an amazing, beautiful, spectacular event. We stand in awe and feel amazed at God's provision of such beauty. Others of us, without the right glasses, feel disappointed and let down. We don't see the beauty. We have a much different perspective and point of view. And so it is in life. So much of what we experience, how we view situations and people, depends upon what glasses, if any, we are using to view those situations and people.
In the age of social media our differences are glaringly obvious. I can't scroll through without seeing complete opposite views on something laced with very accusatory and derogatory rhetoric towards those who see things differently. Gone seem to be the days where we look at one another through the lens of love. We have become accustomed to seeing things OUR way. We surround ourselves with like minded people and create an echo chamber where we seek out those who agree with us so that we can bash the other side and feel justified in our own views. We demonize those who have a differing point of view or perhaps see things a little more grey.
It's absurd. We do not all see life through the same lenses. Some of us have come from great hurts or trials that effect the things we are most passionate about. Some of us have a drive or passion that burns within us that we can't explain. I believe that we are all called to different things. And thank God for that. Truly. Can you imagine if we all felt the call to be involved in or passionate about everything? We would be exhausted and nothing would be done well. We are different. And different is not bad.
Yet we tend to soak in those who see things like us and reject everyone who doesn't. One of my daughters used the pinhole box viewing method to see the solar eclipse. She thought it was a joke. She came home truly convinced this whole solar eclipse thing was a government hoax. Seriously! I was laughing so hard. She did not see what others saw and had herself convinced that because of this, it was not real. You and I know that she is off her rocker on this one. Yet don't we do the same thing in life? If it isn't something that we have experienced or something we do not feel passionate about, we think the other side is wrong, or nuts, or evil. I can't possibly understand racism. I am not a black woman. I don't know what it is like to be attracted to women and try to live that life out every day. I am not a lesbian. I am not a single mom on welfare trying to get through each day. I don't live in the worst places wondering each day if today will be my last. There are a million things that separate us and make us individuals. Because I do not have these experiences does not mean they are not real. And I can't possibly have the same viewpoint nor can I have the same understanding or passions.
The lenses from which we all see life is so different. A friend recently said to me "what if we all expected the best in each other instead of the worst...things would be so different". She is right. If only we could all take a step back and realize that maybe we do not see things the same way because we have different "glasses" on...different life experiences. What if when someone says or posts something that we see as offensive or different than us, we stopped and realized that the person probably did not have ill intentions...but was seeing things differently. What if we used our other senses to try to understand those around us. We might not view things the same way...and maybe there is no way to ever fix our vision. But we could listen more. We could seek to gain an understanding. Not necessarily to agree, but to understand how and why they see the world around them differently. Maybe we would understand then why one person is passionate about the unborn, why one cares deeply about the impoverished, and why one desperately wants others to understand their pain surrounding racism. Perhaps if we stopped trying to make everyone see what we see, we could then develop more of a compassion for others and develop a deeper love for them.
Just because I didn't see the eclipse doesn't mean it didn't happen (just don't try to convince my 13 year old of this). I did not have on the right glasses. When we can't see things the way other do, instead of becoming accusatory and right fighting, let's put on a different pair of glasses. Let's put on the glasses of love and try to see others through those lenses.