Lessons in Perspective

When I was little, I would complain to my mother about trivial crap. Of course I thought whatever it was was so important. I remember her telling me to think of kids who never had xyz-stupid-thing-I-was-bitching-about. I found it extremely annoying. I always thought, “can’t I just be annoyed that I don’t have it? Do I always have to think about those kids who have nothing?” Yes and no. Wisdom is so often wasted on the youth. I see now exactly what she was trying to do. Teach me to gain perspective.
My older daughter’s preschool was wiped out by the hurricane. They were completely flooded. Pictures of the classrooms are heartbreaking. All of the other moms I’ve talked to have the same reaction, “oh gosh, isn’t it horrible? What can we do to help? What the fuck am I gonna do with my kid until they’re back up and running?” Can you hear the panic in their voices? It’s there. And these are people who have no heat and power in some cases, but damnit they need those three hours, three days a week. Maybe more than power? You can’t begrudge them the opportunity to complain (even though they all feel guilty doing it). They know others have lost much more than they have, but being honest with themselves and recognizing their own losses is just part of the process.
While my husband and I sorted through the debris in our garage (seeing what was salvageable and what had to go), I came across a large cardboard box. The contents were completely soaked. As I recognized things like cherished photos, old letters from my mom, a yearbook, I stopped. I knew none of it could be saved and I asked my husband to just take it away. I didn’t want to see what I lost. I let myself feel that sadness for a bit and then moved on.
I look in the mirror everyday and see what I lost right on my chest. I see the scars and know what I gave up to secure my future. Had I been home during the flood, could I have saved those possessions that meant so much? Maybe. But my family is safe and they are all I need. It seems lately, I have lessons in perspective on a daily basis.

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2 thoughts on “Lessons in Perspective

  1. Everyone can learn a lesson in perspective — but I've finally figured out that you need to experience loss to remember what you need and matters the most, just like you often need to feel sadness to know what true happiness is. It is very okay to feel lucky regarding the life you have as long as the compassion and empathy for others is present.

  2. I love this entry. Such an introspective reminder that, while we will all deal with hard times, those hard times are also a chance to gain perspective on the world around us.

    I'm so glad to hear you guys are safe.

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