During a recent trip to the New Mexican 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.
But on my drive home, I passed a deer that had been killed on the highway.
Although it made me sad, I realized that’s what happens near the big city.
Wildlife becomes road kill.
A different place. 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 a 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 and 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 sermon in a fundamental church, I heard a pastor say, “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.
This pastor 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 live from a different perspective.
I have often wished I could go back and do more for single moms, for families struggling with mental illness, for the mother who has to visit with her child through a phone line at the prison.
At the time, I had only the perspective I lived with and my naïve experiences.
How many of us would know what to do if our neighborhoods were ravaged by gangs, our children in 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 we need to follow the example of Ruben Martinez and his El Paso Challenge, to do 22 good deeds for our fellow man — in memory of those 22 people who were slaughtered in his town.
Maybe it will be the young people who will ignore the politics 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.
©2019 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved
For more stories about hope, check out Hope Shines, also available in large print.