Broadening our Perspective


I remember once going to a new school when I was younger.  I didn’t really know anyone and found myself to be pretty alone for those first few days.  It was a painful experience, and I went home one evening wanting to leave the school.  My dad, gave me the advice to hang in there, to wait it out, and that this experience could become one of the most valuable lessons of my life.

I thought my dad was nuts and couldn’t bear the idea that all this pain would somehow lead to something good.  Of course, I ignored him, and it was only a few decades later that I began to see the wisdom in his counsel.

It was Dr. Paul Jenkins who gave a neat analogy for what may be happening here.  He gives the analogy of a young person and an adult walking up a hill.  The adult is further up the hill than the youth, and so has a wider perspective on the landscape all around.  The youth, because he is further down, has a more limited perspective.

Yet, both perspectives are valid in their own way based on the data presented to each.  The dad is completely right when he advises his son to avoid the pitfalls up ahead.  The young person, who has no experience of such pitfalls, and doesn’t know what they could mean for the long term, may from his own perspective think that his dad is merely being overprotective.

I imagine that each one of us, no matter our age, has to wrestle with this same idea in our relationship to God.  God sees the whole perspective in all its infinite amount of detail.  He knows what is best for us.

Hence, when we are going through insecurity or pain we can trust that in spite of what we are feeling, God has a greater plan in place.  God will work even our failures to his greater glory, if we trust him and put our hope in Him.

Raj Vijayakumar is currently residing in Toronto and working as an assistant for L’Arche Canada.

  • Peter Bisson, SJ
    Posted at 01:41h, 20 May Reply

    Thank you Raj!

  • Sharon Walters
    Posted at 08:19h, 20 May Reply

    A beautiful reminder!

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