Perspective as Life

There’s a game I used to play when I was a kid. There’s not a name for this game, and I probably never told anyone I did it. If I did tell someone, they’d just think it was strange or they wouldn’t understand what I meant.

But I played the game a lot. Every morning when I had the chance to lie in bed, when the sun of the new day came in, I’d like on my side and alternate which eye I had open and which I had closed. Whichever eye was open, I’d take in everything I saw with that eye. Then I’d switch eyes and take in everything I saw with the other eye.

There’s not much to it. But there’s also Everything to it.

My favorite part of the game was watching the Switch. That’s where the fun is.

That tiny Shift in perspective, literally a change of only a couple of inches, fascinated me.

How could it be that such a tiny change could make such a big difference?

What got me thinking about my Switching game was a memory from when I was a seventh grade Language Arts teacher.

One day, a group of my students ran into the classroom and sat down around him. There were two boys at the center of this small storm of twelve- and thirteen-year-olds. One boy sat in a desk at the front with a paper and pencil, ready to draw. Another boy sat on my stool in front of the boy who drew him. A small group people watched the Artist at work. They knew what was about to happen.

As a teacher, I spent my days discerning which adolescent storms to observe from a distance and which to drive straight into. In this particular adolescent storm I saw nothing wrong, and their enthusiasm drew me to them. I had to see what the excitement was.

The boy on the stool—a more talkative kind—told me that the other boy—one who tended to brood and scowl and get caught up in the mischief of others—was drawing his portrait.

The Model’s pose was casual yet strongly representative of who he was. He sat on my stool, one foot on the floor and one on the metal bar. He had one hand on his leg that was propped up, and he dangled the other hand in a boy’s dirty grace by his side.

The half a dozen or so kids around the Artist marveled at what they were discovering under his pencil, on the paper. I took a peak over his shoulder and saw the form of his Model taking shape.

The bell rang and all of the kids looked up at me. “Pleeeease,” their eyes said. They knew I could see the same magic they saw. They knew I still saw magic and liked it.

“Let’s get our work done for today, and I’ll give you some time at the end of the class to finish.” Which is what we did. Who knows what we did that class period? Who cares? But what I do remember was how everyone gathered around the vast amount of enthusiasm that was happening when the boy drew.

I could describe this scene further, it’s so deeply stamped upon me. But I’ll skip ahead to what matters about it to me.

The Artist drew a picture of his Model that was true to who the Model was.

However, the picture was of a man of about 40 years old. Somewhere between what he saw and what he drew, was a span of decades. We all noticed it and remarked on how the drawing was definitely the boy on the stool. But it was his future self. It was the man he would become.

The teacher part of me recognized his gift and wanted to guide him to those who could help him refine his craft. But the part of me who loves having fun with stories said, “This would be a great story. “The Boy Who Could See the Future.”

We shared a moment of Delight. There’s so much I could say about Delight, and I’ll get to that later. It’s a large topic.

But there was a sense that the Artist was seeing in two dimensions at once. And wouldn’t that be fun? Somewhere between where what we were seeing and what happened at the end of his pencil, the Artist could see the Model as a middle-age man.

Thinking about that moment of Delight we shared, I was reminded of the Switching game I used to play. And I laid down and played, let my Perspective shift ever so slightly.

There’s so much I could say about that too.**

Here’s the “short” of it:

Changing Perspective, switching between what we believe to be is our view of the world, is where the Delight happens. Sometimes the shift can be as small as two inches, sometimes it can be a shift between (among?) the Worlds of God.

It’s in those subtle or massive Shifts in Perspective you can watch a wound become a path for something greater. You can watch a transformation take place. You can see beyond what you saw before.

That beautiful ache, that yearning to Shift Perspective, that longing of what is greater is what keeps us moving forward. It’s what Creates.

And Creating is what it’s All about.

Whatever Creating it is that we’re doing—from Art, to Science, to Friendships and Families—it doesn’t happen without moving—even if it’s only one inch—to a new Perspective.

Notes to myself: Still Exploring how it all fits together. But I know these are puzzle pieces/peaces. There’s a thread of this that leads back to Rousseau’s Emile that I need to follow about applications for Discovery and Delight.

**I’m whittling away at these things, I swear. I desire A Room of One’s Own more hours each day and a Protector of Solitude. I’m thankful for the time I do have. But longing for more … which is also part of what this is about.



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