For the past couple of years I have been reminded again and again to try to view people through the lenses they wear. It helps me to get out of judgment and into the compassion and understanding mode that I prefer to live my life in. I try to remember that a group of people that hold an infant or see a Christmas tree will describe the event differently from their past childhood memories and those ideas and thoughts they now carry as adults. No two descriptions will be exactly the same, even from siblings who shared the very same childhood. Each of us has a different set of lenses that we see the world around us through and each experience in life alters those lenses just a little in some way or another. I can see this most now if I recall a childhood memory and see it through the lenses I now wear. Even my own memory will not be “judged” with the same lenses as when I experienced it.
So what does that really mean on a daily basis? How can we practice using perspectacles when we experience life? We can make up stories of someone’s life and past as we watch their experiences that we normally would judge. We can ask ourselves why someone might see something so simple as an attack or even as a miracle of the day. We can listen as someone tells us about their experience without deciding the best advice we can give, but instead trying to wear the perspectacles they are wearing and perhaps remind them of a reason the other person involved might wear a completely different pair of perspectacles. We can watch a child experience life with perspectacles that are very thin and much clearer without scratches and tape and dents that our years have added to ours. See how beautiful the life of a flower is to a five year old or how precious the day is to a cancer survivor.
What else can we do with this drawer full of perspectacles? We can try them on and see how many ways we can view one little memory of life. How did our parents see the saddest memory in our childhood? How did our sibling experience it? Our best friend? Our 7 year old self? Our teenage self? Ourselves now? How would you see the event through your own parent perspectacles? How different are your parent perspectacles than those of your parents? Your grandparents? Your friends?
What if you saw life through the perspectacles of those around you? What would you learn from them? Would you react really so differently than they are at that very moment? Through their perspectacles you can see that they did the absolute best they could with what they knew. Who wouldn’t do the very best in such difficult situations? What parent would hope to create a horrible experience for their child on purpose? If only their perspectacles were interchangeable and they were able to see how much it meant to you then or now, if only they had a drawer full to try on and see if it was the absolute best decision. How many decisions in your life do you see a better solution for now with your aging perspectacles? Perhaps it is time to pour a little forgiveness on the perspectacles in your drawer and wipe them clean and see life, yet again, a little brighter.