Perspective is something I learned about in art class, a long, long time ago. If you put a dot on a piece of paper and draw lines out from it, depending on the placement of the dot and the angle and direction of your lines, you can alter your perspective.
Today I had a perspective adjustment that involved neither dots nor straight lines.
While Anna was doing milking dishes and I was moving the fence to let the girls out to graze in a new area, a SUV with flashing red lights sped down our short gravel road.
There are only 2 stops beyond our barn our road. Both contain people we adore.
The SUV was a first responder. My pulse raced as I saw it turn down our neighbor’s driveway. I took the shortcut through the barn and breathlessly told Anna I was heading over to the neighbors. As I trotted down the road and then the driveway all of the potential scenarios raced through my head. What if there had been a health emergency? Or an accident? Or a break-in? Or??? The road was too long and my legs too short.
I raced through the open garage to the back door announcing myself as I drew closer. “It’s Vicky, can I help?”
Our neighbor met me at the door, perhaps more startled by my round red face than whatever was going on in her home. Quickly she assured me, “I’m okay, it’s just me cooking.” I let her briefly tell me the condensed story and get back inside. All was well.
On my stroll back to the barn, I noticed a few things I hadn’t on the way over. Some spring blooms I hadn’t seen. Some buds on trees I didn’t notice. My perspective, changed.
I was taken in that moment by my thoughts and how I processed the emerging situation. I was proud of myself initially. My first response was ‘can I help’ equally paired with ‘are you okay’ – I think that’s good.
My second thought shocked me a little. I thought ‘not THAT neighbor’- I would like to think I’m a better person, but I’m not. ‘Not THAT neighbor’ was based upon this being a neighbor I like… not the neighbor that I don’t like.
Wow. Does that mean I wouldn’t respond the same if I saw the flashing red lights heading that direction? Hmmm. I don’t know. Really, I don’t. He has been outright awful to us, but am I really willing to reserve my concern and assistance only for people I like? I don’t know. I hope not.
Maybe now, with my perspective altered, I would rush over and offer my assistance. Hopefully we will never have the occasion to know.
These are the thoughts I pondered today I walked back to my farm, took a sweeping look around and satisfied myself that my perspective of the day had been altered. Whatever challenges had leapt to greet the farm today would have to wait for another day to get under my skin. Today my neighbor was safe, and I was a better person for it.