During a recent trip to New Mexico and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, we searched for deer. Every time someone in the family saw a deer, we cheered. We called to them, hoping to pet them or maybe feed them some leftover crackers. The deer are a special fixture in the mountains, a cherished part of the wildlife.
But on the drive home, we passed a deer that had been killed on the highway. Although it made me sad, I know this is what happens with the progress of a city. Wildlife becomes roadkill.
Different places. A different perspective.
When a friend of mine was going through divorce, she received a card from her childhood Sunday School teacher. A beautiful woman who was blessed with a happy marriage for 53 years. She had no clue what my friend had endured for 18 years.
The teacher wrote, “I can’t believe you’re doing this sinful thing. Why couldn’t you work it out? Don’t you know marriage requires commitment, 100% from both partners?”
My friend felt condemned yet she knew she had tried to make it work. The Sunday School teacher had no idea how to deal with an abusive marriage or how my friend had tried to protect herself and her children. She was clueless about the courage it takes to leave.
Different lives. Different perspectives.
During a Bible study teaching, a church leader taught, “We should never eat out on Sundays. We are forcing others to work on the Sabbath.”
He did not know about the single mom who is grateful for the Sunday crowd at her restaurant. With the bigger tips, she feeds her children for another week. That leader could not imagine how it feels to pray for your daily bread, how this single mom works three jobs, and every extra penny is a blessing. Her Sabbath begins with a prayer of thanksgiving for the jobs she maintains. She hopes to be promoted to manager soon and asks God for the endurance to raise her children well.
Different faith walks. Different perspectives.
Anger and condemnation toward others do nothing to improve lives or change situations. One blip of a circumstantial change and we will live from a different perspective.
I have often wished I could go back in time and do more for single moms. For families struggling with mental illness. For the mother who visits with her child through a phone line at the prison. At the time when I met these people, I had only the perspective I lived with and my naïve experiences.
Our country is suffering from a lack of qualified perspective. How many of us would know what to do if our neighborhoods were ravaged by gangs, our children in constant danger? Would we leave everything and try to find a safe place? Wouldn’t we be grateful for a piece of bread, a clean pillow, a helping hand?
The perspective of the refugee is different from that of the weary border guard yet each person is precious in the heart of God.
Hope does not condemn, neither does it refuse to consider a different perspective. Instead, hope listens and considers a better way—a more peaceful path.
I pray every day for our leaders and for the decisions they must make. But mostly I pray they will look beyond their own perspectives, their political policies, and open their minds to possible solutions.
Maybe it will be the young people who will ignore the political machine and help us find a way to change our perspectives. Maybe hope comes with a future generation while the rest of us struggle to catch up.
©2023 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved
Bless a single mom and send her this devotional book: Just for Today: Hope for Single Moms