I want to say that growing older has taken me on a walk through the door with perspective. It’s just been natural and I’ve developed a place in my heart for it.
When I was young, I would see people as inconsiderate because they wouldn’t think how their actions would affect me. I would feel that they were too dedicated to useless things or were plainly, too aggressive. Why would that person cut me off? How dare they talk to me in that manner? While I still can catch myself thinking that, today I am quicker to take a deep breathe and add the punch of salt of perspective, because my first impulse is to look at people from the comfort of my shoes. Most times we don’t have the full story, the context, or the thoughts involved in the situation, and we emit unfair and unrequested judgment.
An example that can be easily relatable is parental behavior. Now that I am older and have become a parent myself, I can understand my own parents a lot better. They had many acts and display of love, and were also quick to tell you that you were going down the wrong path or crossing a line. They were strict with school and respect, but lax when it came to meals and TV. They wanted the best for us and were not going to allow us to not be prepared for a tough world.
Even though time has passed, things haven’t changed much. If something is possibly dangerous or not as good as it should be, I will probably hear about it immediately. At times it can be tough because I want to make decisions without objections or I am already busy doing 100 other things. It can feel like no amount of great results is enough. Yet remember, my parents wouldn’t be caught dead not helping their children be prepared for a tough world. We come from a poor corrupt country and not rich families. What they were able to accomplish was through hours upon hours of hard work. They know first hand that if something is goes wrong, you are quickly disqualified from the race of scarce opportunities; from that perspective is that they operate. I have learned that their love translates from “make sure to close the door so the little one doesn’t walk into that room” to “ I don’t want something bad to happen to her.”
And guess what? I hold the role of the translator of those conversations. I have to navigate through my long day, life demands, and my limited body, while keeping open ears to the love given to me by advice or admonition. I won’t lie and say that the translator is always powered and ready to go. At times I buckle and feel the need of a “great job” over a “caution.” But I have to bring myself back and remember, they are eliminating the possible failures so I can shine.
As I meditate on this, I wonder, how many more translating opportunities have I left at the table for the other relationships in my life? There are moments when you will not have any context, and you have to put on your glasses of grace, and not perspective. Giving people grace is the distance between you and a bad or uncomfortable situation. You extend it and close the gap. If you decide not to, the gap can grow and suck you in, turning into two people with a negative situation to resolve.
I try to give the benefit of the doubt and think that the person who cut me off maybe doesn’t feel well and has to get home, or the person who raised their voice was just chewed up by a family member or boss. I can use grace to stop or reduce the negativity, and remember that others have a caring heart.
Understanding my family’s background and history helped me accept more love, and in exchange, give more love. I am encouraged to see life through other people’s lenses more , and use the opportunity to impart grace more frequently. I hope you are too.