A Matter of Perspective

A Matter of Perspective

Picasso2“Others have seen what is and asked why. I have seen what could be and asked why not.” — Pablo Picasso

“I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” — Pablo Picasso

Our town consistently produces national championship girls’ softball teams. So when our daughter was about seven years old, we encouraged her to try playing the game. “Must be great coaches,” we thought. She got assigned to a losing team. Not just a loss here and there, but a pathetically bad team. The package deal started with a fear of getting hit in the face with a fly ball and ended with a large dose of disappointment for our daughter.

Every parent wants their kid to be on the winning team. But we noticed that losing produces a rather attractive humility. Sometimes you gotta be happy for the winner even if it isn’t you. And you have to be prepared to work hard and practice a lot or you are going to lose. Good lessons, right? If winning comes easily, it isn’t always a pretty thing. Ever known a “sore loser”? Yuk. Anyway, I can honestly say I hold a differing opinion from Nike who flaunts the slogan that “winning takes care of everything” in their ad featuring Tiger Woods. No Tiger, winning isn’t the cure for everything.

It’s all in how you see it. The cubists often painted a subject showing more than one view at a time. This close-up of Pablo Picasso’s “Girl Before a Mirror” Picasso2 Image 2depicts two perspectives at once: the front view and the profile. People who are keenly sensitive see things from more than one point of view at a time. It’s always advantageous to empathize with other perspectives. After all, our perspective might just be skewed.

Adele Calhoun says we need to see our memories from God’s perspective. Only then can we be completely healed of past pain. In her book, Invitations from God, she reveals how our futures all rest on the shoulders of how we remember our past. Sacred remembering is about what we do with pain and hope. We can choose to remember things in the light of God’s love. Some memories require a Red Sea crossing in the arms of a Savior who sorts out distortions in our memories. The correct perspective ends in a story about healing, growth, and freedom.

Remember the parable about the blind men describing an elephant? It comes from a 19th century poem by John Godfrey Saxe called “The Blind Men and the Elephant”. Here’s an excerpt:

It was six men of Indostan

To learning much inclined,

Who went to see the Elephant

(Though all of them were blind),

That each by observation

Might satisfy his mind…

Image 1You can imagine the confusion! The trunk, ear, leg, and tail all appear quite different. Yet each was convinced his description was right.

And so these men of Indostan

Disputed loud and long,

Each in his own opinion

Exceeding stiff and strong,

Though each was partly in the right

And all were in the wrong.

Sometimes the best solution to a problem is uncovered by looking at it from differing perspectives. Sometimes, you just have to step back.

I’d like to get better at seeing God’s perspective consistently. Would the world be more peaceful, less bristly if we could all do that? Let’s all step away from the elephant.

If you have been hurt, you don’t need to hear “time heals all wounds.” Image The scars may remain, but the Holy Spirit can show you how God sees it. The person who hurt you has many facets. Searching for the good ones is an art worth practicing. It’s not about winning and losing or proving yourself right, it’s more like seeing the profile and the front view at the same time.



  1. Nice job Sue. A good lesson for all of us to learn. I hope I am catching on.

  2. Fran Lankford

    Wow! Sue! Amazing images here. Angle by angle, layer by layer, piece by piece, He is able to reveal, renew and restore. I believe art is one of the greatest gifts God gave to us. Each of us have the ability to see situations on a different level. Thank you for this eye opening perspective! How amazing to open ourselves up to His guidance and be willing to learn. Love you Sue.

  3. Thanks for being Cathee’s sub – a very good one, you are! Seeing things from God’s perspective is a continuing prayer of mine and it results in such a heart of worship and gratitude – why do we ever need to be reminded? But I do!

  4. Great way to view every situation. Thanks!

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