Mike and I had the pleasure of traveling to Alaska this summer with my older brother Steve, and his (younger!) wife Linda. We’ve traveled with them before – to Italy, and to Tahoe, and plan to do so again. There’s something extra special about getting out into the world with family. Especially when you return still liking each other!
One thing the four of us share is a deep Christian faith, and this trip took that to a new level. We witnessed a whole new side of God’s creativity. Alaska is truly the last frontier – wilderness, “wild” animals, mile upon mile of untouched natural beauty. Mountains, ocean, flowers, glaciers. We saw so much (and yet such a teeny portion) on foot, by domed train and coach buses, in a ferry and a float plane. Those different methods offered vastly different perspectives.
For instance, our cruise ship, Holland America’s Zaandam, motored us (safely) near one of many glaciers. We stood in awe as large chunks of ice broke away, crashing into the icy water in a surprisingly loud display. We could see the edge of the glacier, and how it extended up the hill. Stunning!
Then we took to the air. That changed our whole perspective. Suddenly we saw miles and miles of white, blue, and even brown and green glaciers. What we thought we were seeing, from the ship, the canoe, or the ferry, was only a sliver of reality. And that got me thinking about how I see the world.
What I think I know is no doubt merely a sliver of what there really is to know. What I see in other people (behavior, choices) is the tip of where they’ve been and what they’ve experienced. When I make a judgment on how someone looks, I can’t see where they’ve just come from (a single mom dashing to the pharmacy for her sick child, an overworked and underpaid employee, a lonely older person). My perspective is limited to what I can see.
Seeing glaciers from underfoot, nearby, and overhead makes me want to see life that way – beside people instead of holding myself away, in the trenches with those who desperately need a hand up or a kind word. Seeing them through Christ’s eyes and not my binoculars.
Life gets busy, and our attention is pulled in a thousand ways. Rather than make snap judgments as I go through life, I’m asking God to open my heart and mind to a bigger picture. A new perspective.
What experiences have shaped how you see the world?