A BELOVED SCHOOLTEACHER in my boyhood was also the mother of one of my classmates, a pretty, delightful little girl. Unwell, my little friend participated fully in class when she could and slept in her mother's lap at teacher's desk at other times. This was my first real experience of illness and of subsequent death and I remember worrying about what I could possibly say to my dear teacher when she returned (as I hoped she would) from leave.
45 years on I can't remember what, if anything, I said to Mrs R upon her return. But I do remember this: that sitting in her chair at the front of the class, the absence of her daughter and our little classmate almost unbearable, our teacher told us,
“Today I want to tell you about perspective, about how our view of life changes depending upon where we're standing. If you can learn how to keep things in perspective you will have learned a very important lesson.”
Few lessons were ever more important for my future life as a human person, priest and pastor. Our view of life changes depending upon where we're standing. And sometimes all that's required is that we take a few steps …