Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Very Bottom Line

It’s amazing to me that one person can see one thing, while another person can look at the same thing and see something completely different.  The same might occur in a song.  One person can only hear the melody, while another person hears the harmony.  One person interprets a painting one way, perhaps sees one thing that stands out, while another person sees something quite differently within that painting.  One person might find one passage in a reading significant, while another person finds another passage even more significant.


Kim and I have very dear friends, Dan and Jenny, who love the snow, especially Jenny.  She sees the beauty in snowflakes.  She delights in her children playing in the snow, making snow angels, building snow forts, and sledding. And after their time outside is over, when their cheeks are red as apples and their lips blue, there is hot chocolate with marshmallows.   Personally, I like snowflakes, but I’m willing to skip over everything else and go right to the hot chocolate, minus the marshmallows.  Kim and I deserted Wisconsin willingly and happily because neither of us likes the cold, the snow, or the ice.  We do, however, like hot chocolate.


We have other dear friends who moved back to Alaska.  They find delight in cross country skiing, moonlight walks, and hikes in the woods, and they love that nature resides right outside their backdoor.  Personally, I’d rather watch life in Alaska from afar or read about that sort of life in a book or watch it unfold in a movie. I would be willing to visit, perhaps take a vacation, but not much more than that.


I believe it’s all in one’s perception.  But even deeper than that.  More than that.


I think our view of the world, our view of events, and all that is within our world . . . all that surrounds and all that is within the events of our world are colored by our perceptions, our experiences, and our thoughts within those moments.


I come from a very humble background of growing up in a large family.  We lived on the river.  It was quiet and peaceful and well, lethargic.  Kind of boring, in retrospect.  Kim grew up in a town that has a smaller population than the school I’m principal of.  Her big getaway was when her family drove ten miles to “the city” which by many standards is small.  I like the hustle of the city, of noise and crush of crowds, and the gray concrete and steel of a city skyline.  Kim wants nothing to do with it.


Because of my poor background, my heart wrenches when I see poverty, especially as that poverty affects children and families.  I immediately empathize with them.  I feel their pain, their anguish.  My stomach hurts with their hunger.  I’m anxious over their worry, especially as parents try so very hard to provide for their children.  Like my dad and mom did for us.  I grew up in poverty.  I experienced that life.  I know it.  I feel it.  It’s in my blood, my heart and my soul.


You see, my eyes are different from yours.  We see life differently, experience life differently, and feel life differently because our experiences, while perhaps similar, aren’t the same.  They can’t be, because what life presented me with was different from what life presented you.


And even more than that. 


The way I reacted to what was presented to me was perhaps different from the way you reacted to what life presented you.  And that reaction was based upon my own . . . and your own . . . unique experiences in life.


The Very Bottom Line?


Who are we to judge others . . . each other?   Who are we to question the reasons, the reactions, the motives of one’s actions, each other’s actions?  One’s words, each other’s words?


The Very Bottom Line?


Viktor Frankl wrote that “Between stimulus and response there is a space.  In that space is the power to choose our response.  In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”


The Very Bottom Line?


“In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” 


As the Knight in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” states, “Choose wisely!”  Yes, we must choose wisely because the choice we make sets in motion an everlasting ripple throughout time and space affecting not only ourselves, but each other.  Something to think about . . .


Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!



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Thank you for your comment. I welcome your thought. Joe