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 …


10 thoughts on “PERSPECTIVE

  1. So much wisdom in this post, Simon! You’re absolutely right! Sometimes just the slightest adjustment can make all of the difference…. Hope you’re feeling better!

  2. More importantly than the wondrous and true message in your post – are you feeling better? The truth of the matter for me is that my perspective is skewed when I know that my friends are sick – that becomes my focus. So…tell me my friend, how are you?

  3. Deep, relevant and helpful! Thank you Simon, hope you are recovering well. Love from Alice too.

  4. Simon, I just came across a quote that immediately made me think of your perspective post of earlier today. Here ’tis: “Since my house burned down / I now own a better view / of the rising moon.” -Mizuta Masahide, poet and samurai (1657-1723) I found that amazing. And don’t hold out on Mimi and I any longer–HOW ARE YOU?!

  5. Mimi, friend: thank you. Better but still pretty much zonked! I’ll post an update today. Please know that I feel the focus and the love that are coming my way, appreciated more than I can say xx

  6. Brilliant, Lori. Absolutely spot on. Poetry is such a sustaining food isn’t it? All sorts of poetry comes back to me at present during enforced stillness.

  7. I really hope my focus can extend across the pond, because I’m sending out as much love and good thoughts as I can (and I’m not the best swimmer)…:-)

  8. I, too, frequently find great satisfaction in poetry–I think it’s the distillation of many complex ideas into a few succinct words or phrases that I most admire.

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