Updated: September 20, 2012 6:17AM
Perspective. It keeps changing, as we change. It is like elastic, stretchable.
It is how we see things from where we are, and from where we have been. From childhood to maturity (or to near maturity, where I am) our world widens.
Until a year ago, I thought the word “bypass” was a highway thing. It still is, but a skillful surgeon and others sawed their way into my chest and gave bypass a new meaning. Now I have a kinship with thousands, maybe millions of people. My perspective has been permanently changed. A friendly cardiologist fellow started me toward a new year of healthful living, and he kindly did not suggest that I go easy on doughnuts.
And later, another perspective change. I had thought that the word “re-hab” meant fixing up old houses, and it does, but there is much more — it means fixing up ailing hearts and attitudes. In my case, this re-hab thing really touched my heart because the folks directing it always smiled and made me feel important. I thank them all.
I see it differently now that I have been there.
That’s what happens if we are mentally and spiritually awake. My father, a really good singer, was in the church choir back home and on a visit I thought: “He is too old to be in a church choir.” He was past 70!
I suspect that he is laughing at me now, from whatever choir he is in. I may be our church choir’s oldest member ever. Maybe I am still in it by special dispensation, but I am afraid to ask. My choir robe number is 39. Remember Jack Benny? It makes me feel better. The truth is, though, that even if I sing old, I don’t feel old. I just feel, well, among friends.
There is another reality — there are no kids in this choir. Reality reveals the graying of choirs and church memberships, and that is a jolt to our perspectives. The test, though, is to keep on singing and laughing and eating doughnuts in moderation.
On a recent trip back home, I noticed, as I always do, that the stream where I caught catfish is only a tiny tributary of a creek. Maybe it has shrunk since the days of my childhood, but it does not matter. In my book of memories, I see it as it was years ago. The rural roads are narrower than they seemed when I was a kid. But I remember them as they were then. Is that foolishness or a sign that we can hold on to those pictures in our hearts and heads, even as our perspectives change, as they surely will?
It is fun, I think, to replay those changes because it helps us to remember with joy the roads we have taken to get where we are.
Nobody is too old to sing. Or to dream. Or to laugh. Our perspectives will keep on changing as long as we are here, and I believe that is a healthy way to see life.
Yearning to learn, eager to sing, thankful for finding another meaning for words like “bypass.” New perspectives are out there, waiting to be enjoyed, always something new to affect the way we see things.
When I was a kid, time dragged while I waited for a trip to town for ice cream or some other treat, or for date night. Now, time seems to streak like a meteor. That’s how I remember and how I see it.
It seems to me that if I slow down, time should, too. I wonder if anyone else thinks that way.