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  • Writer's pictureHappiness in Handfulls

Imprisoned by your Own Perspective

I was walking to get some fresh air and I noticed this entrance leading to a church and something caught me as I examined the scene. The church, while beautiful in construction, manicured, and obviously loved, was closed to public. A sign nicely displayed outside tells onlookers that they can join online. This is the "norm" today as we gather online, find the Bible in our homes, and receive signs of good will in different ways than before. However, the "norm" is built on a series of learned behaviors, traditions, and rules: in this Age it is important to remember that each "norm" is a function of all these variables and some more than others depending on the person.

To appreciate and accept changes, my brain works by breaking things down to build them back up. Examine and Critique. Hypothesize and Test. Analyze, Correlate, and Experiment again. My brain also knows that the first time you observe something may not be all that it seems, and that even with extensive attention, variables may be confounding each other distorting your view. This view, while beautiful, is a form of perspective built on previous experience and knowledge. This view, also depressing and abnormal, is a form of perspective built on previous experience and knowledge. I could share this view with others, maybe I do not, but the route by which I progress to a thought about a situation is 100% mine as yours is 100% you. For example, the church I have built some perspective based on what I see and my hope is that my description resonates with you and you can appreciate the perspectives your brain creates for yourself as well.

THE FENCE: it was built to enclose the church property, show where a boundary is formed. When you look closer, the fence is forged of metal, it is strong and timely, ages well, and only requires minimal maintenance. I look further and observe the fence is not acting to stop you from seeing in; but actually the contrary, it is formed to allow people to see what is behind it. It is not necessarily keeping you out, nor it is welcoming you in, but it is giving people on either side the opportunity to view each other. The fence reminds me of a jail cell at this point, imprisoning me in my thoughts as I stand on the other side looking in.

THE EXTERIOR: it was made with care, upkept, free of broken windows, sheltered with a few lovely cherry trees, and stands tall against the bright blue sky. When you examine the materials used to construct the church structure you see brick, a ceramic material. While strong, ceramics are brittle, crack easily, and require firing in a furnace at high temperatures to be formed with these mechanical properties. Interesting that a church is constructed of materials that went through literal 'hell' and back to become honorable and strong, while symbolically this suggests the church is extremely fragile and will crack when stress of some kind is applied.

THE WALKWAY: it was made to be flat, but it is not perfect, with small waves of uneven stone throughout. It reminds me of flowing water, directing us to follow the current. Church walkways are some of the most iconic stones if you think and correlate your past experiences. There are so many photos of me and my family on a church walkway celebrating a baptism, first communion, Easter, Christmas, weddings, mourning a family member, shaking the priest's hand after Mass, etc. They remind me of a route to community. I name it the River of Congregation.

THE FOLIAGE: it is fresh, colorful, distinct. The church walkway is lined with flowers, symbolizing to me a crowd. As I walked down the walkway, I felt my family and friends near and far. The foliage at Mass gives us sense of hope, it celebrates seasons, and it mourns and celebrates with us as we progress through stages of life. As I look closer I realize the tulips blooming are not all the same height, specifically there is one that has risen above all the others. This symbolizes us. We must look beyond the crowd, we must not always be followers, but yet stand up and lead in the direction of what our perspective tells us is right.

THE DOOR: it is made to look old and strong, made of wood and decorated with black nails that are domed in shape. The door looked dead as a doornail, closed, and dark. The sign hung reading "CLOSED, join us online" followed by a URL. But as I thought and thought, I remember from experience that there is never only one door. I walked around the church property, turned the corner and there it was! Welcoming and happy, a door that is not open, nor dressed in a closed sign. A picture of the alternative door is below. Always think of a substitute, another option, a backup, another door will be available.

WELCOME TO YOUR NEW PERSPECTIVE: There is always more than one way to view a situation and we need to utilize critical thinking to make this our new "norm". Whatever is going on in your boat, we are steering the same storm. Others are here for you, as you need to be there for others. Less talk, more do. I will leave you with this:

See through or go beyond the fence, protect your exterior from stress, paddle the stone walkway, be with your foliage in whichever way you can and do each of these in your own way. Finally, no one ever got anywhere good by breaking down a door with force, use your skills, find a way to locate and open another door.

-Happiness in Handfulls

P.S. Here is me going beyond my imprisoned perspective sitting with my foliage.

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