Confession: Perspective is based on experience, therefore this blog is based upon my experiences.
Reminder: I’m a pretty strong optimist, which certainly affects my perspectives.
Over the last several weeks I have had several conversations about topics where our perspectives clearly led us to different conclusions. Some conversations were about music, some about homework, some about church, and still others were about relationship and marriage. Whatever the topic was, perspectives played a vital role. I am writing this blog not to say that your perspectives need to change, but that you should be aware of the impact your perspective makes. If we view the topic of Donald Trump or Hilary Clinton as a dragon, our varying perspectives will cast that dragon in different lights, producing different shadows. What we choose to emphasize will change the “reality” of the person or topic. Our experiences cannot be hindered or cast out – but we can be aware of our own perspectives when we are discussing people or topics that have widely differing stances.
The need to be aware of your own perspectives is especially true regarding your passions. The shadows cast by your perspective are extraordinarily strong. So discussions concerning faith, relationships, rights/freedoms, philosophy, etc (You know, all those things that can get really, really deep) will be based upon your strong perspective. If we want change (and we normally want people to change their minds to our perspective), then we must check our own perspective and be willing to see other views.
While it is understandable that at the end of the day we will walk away not changing our minds or perspectives on major issues, I want to challenge you to two things. First, even without changing your view, I want to encourage you to seek the viewpoints of those you differ with to understand where they stand. You can still 100% disagree with them, but consider why they believe what they believe. Second, I want to encourage you to allow your perspective on the small things to be more easily changed. You don’t have to be “wrong.” You just need to edit your perspective with the new insights you learned! This is, after all, the basis of education: adding knowledge to better create decisions. While you can learn for knowledge sake, the most satisfactory kinds of learning are the ones that add something to your life.
Finally, let me encourage you to reflect on why you hold certain perspectives. Is it because you have limited exposure to other viewpoints? Or do you feel you’ve seen enough to make a concrete decision? Is that decision for you or is it universal? For example: Star Wars is better than Star Trek. My perspective includes the following: I grew up and by the age of three Jabba the Hutt was my favorite toy I played with. Birthday parties age 3-16 were all Star Wars themed. I have 200+ books and have read 100+ of them. I played with my 300+ star wars action figures for up to 8 hours a day as a kid. You may think I am biased towards star wars! Well, you would be right. However, I also watched Star Trek Voyager, Enterprise, Next Generation (probably in that order growing up), and the Star Trek movies (both old and the reboots). Of the hours upon hours spent in both Star Wars and Star Trek I learned that I like Star wars better – not that Star Trek is bad, but that I prefer Star wars! This observation is for me; others may spend the same amount of hours and arrive at a different conclusion. This may seem trivial, but I hope I made my point. Each of us are different, and it is ok to have differences! Recognize the differences are based on experience and the perspectives we have are not the same perspectives as the next person beside us.
While that example is small, I hope it can serve as a base for the deeper experiences. God may have done marvelous things in your life, while in another person’s life they feel as though he was never there for them when they cried out to him. Your status in life, your nationality, your heritage, these all factor into your decisions concerning faith, politics, social justice, priorities in life, etc. You are allowed to be firm in your decision while seeing the shadows that other people see.
As always, I hope the dragons you encounter this week are beautiful and awe inspiring, and that you conquer the evil, nasty dragons that attack or plague you. May you see the shadows of dragons differently, and may you live in peace among others.