January 7, 2012 - looking west
We give great value to eyewitness accounts. We want reports from the people who are there, recording history as it happens.
But as I watched beautiful Kansas sunsets this weekend, I came to a realization. Our eyewitness account often depends on what direction we're facing. Context colors our experience.
A Kansas sunset evolves quickly. If you look at it just before the sun gets swallowed up by the horizon, it's a whole different perspective than the scene as the inky darkness overtakes the prisms of light.
Our eyes drift toward the drama. But what if the eyewitness account came from someone who is looking to the south during sunset? If you asked them to describe the sunset, they wouldn't talk about fiery yellows, brilliant oranges and royal blues. Instead, they would talk about the fingers of pink light stretching into a columbia-blue-painted sky.
January 7, 2012 - Looking south
Look to the southeast and the scene shifts again.
January 7, 2012 - Looking southeast
I thought about this again during a discussion in Sunday School. We make what we think is an innocuous comment or a joke. And someone "hears" something entirely different than what we intended.
It can happen the other way, too. I may find offense in a perfectly innocent remark. (At least that's what my husband tells me.) Why do these miscommunications happen? Why do we find fault or believe others find fault in us - usually when there was no intent for harm?
I suppose it's because we are all colored by our experiences. We are affected by the direction in which we are looking and the direction from which we have come. Are we stuck looking at past slights and failures or do we look toward the future? What wins out? Is it the memories of the schoolyard taunts or is it the compliment for a job well done?
January 12, 2012 - Looking southwest
Perhaps it's a reminder to stop and think. Will we be colored by the positive? Or will the negative win the day? It truly is a matter of perspective, isn't it?
***I'm linked today to Michelle DeRusha's blog, Hear It On Sunday, Use It on Monday.