Rustlings (July 24, 2017)

Perspective. Life pivots and moves on glasses that are half-full or half-empty. A sense of purpose and happiness (or aimlessness and bitterness) is the result of how we embrace the twists and turns of our daily existence. The events cannot be changed; it was what it was, it is what it is. But how we view the incidents of daily living can be altered. Perspective.

I’m sitting on a backyard deck this morning. My laptop is… well… in my lap. I’m gazing across the tops of majestic trees with a bald eagle soaring below me. Yes, below me. It’s a different perspective.

Moments ago, I was sipping coffee with Morten Lauridsen discussing his upcoming recording of Dana Gioia’s poem “Prayer.” Of all Dana’s poetry, this seemed the least likely to become a choral anthem. It was not written to match a musicality – quite the opposite. It’s verbiage and meter – while beautiful – hold an intrinsic discord. Morten, however, heard within the words and lines a motif that only a master’s ear could perceive.

Next week I’ll be teaching the Gospel of John to a group of west coast teenagers. I find myself spending a part of my mornings hoping I can convey to this generation the significance of a two thousand year old text. I’m praying that the pattern of their living and the priorities of their days might somehow shift with the reading of the red-letter passages. Amid the hundreds of voices competing for a piece of their lives, I want the words of Christ to give them some perspective.

Life can be shaped with bitterness or joy, hate or love, prejudice or acceptance, greed or generosity, resentment or forgiveness, hope or despair. Usually, it’s a matter of chosen perspective. Choose well.

— Jim