While stopped at road works a while back ago, I sat looking out through the windscreen wipers as they moved from side to side. The rain itself wasn’t particularly heavy. But the wind, thunder, and lightning that accompanied the storm as it passed over were ferocious.
Waiting for the temporary traffic light to change to green, I glanced out the side window, into the paddock beside the road. There I saw a very newborn calf trying to stand up, which it did successfully. The mother cow licked it, though the rain ensured it was getting a good wash anyway.
I wondered what it must be like to be born in such a storm and for that to be the little calf’s first impression of life. When the grey clouds passed over and the rain and wind stopped, would the calf wonder what was wrong, why the sky had suddenly turned blue, and where had all the wet stuff gone that was falling down? Would it then always be waiting for another storm, in order for life to feel regular again, since this was the first world it knew?
Being in a valley of cattle and dairy farms, it is not uncommon to see newborn calves, which of course I love. When I then saw another newborn calf on its first day not long after, a day that was hot and dry, I couldn’t help but wonder how differently these two little calves would see the world. Maybe they wouldn’t actually think about it. They’d be happy just drinking their mother’s milk and running around as baby animals do.
But having made friends with various cows over the years, I have no doubt of their ability to think well and to learn. So I do wonder how different their perspectives on life are and how it would affect each of their life experiences.
The city called me a few weeks ago, when we headed down to Sydney for me to perform at a music festival. While the excitement to head out and catch up with the buzz of the city again was there initially, it only took a few short hours to wear off and for me to be missing the cottage and the life that abounds the creek. It is a life that makes much more sense to me.
While there and heading to my favourite tea shop to re-stock on Chai, we found ourselves walking behind an elderly lady who had osteoporosis, or some condition that saw her walking with such a bent back that she was looking at the ground the whole time. She almost bent forward at right angles from the hip.
Naturally I felt a rush of compassion for her, in that she couldn’t be looking out at the world as she walked. But then I thought about the little calves and the whole perspective thing. Perhaps she saw it differently. Perhaps she was grateful that at her age, she still had the independence to be out and about as she wished, when I am sure many her age would not have been able to.
I thought of all of those people, young and old, who are ill or confined and would have happily accepted such a situation rather than the one they were in. People who were too ill to breathe the outside air, to walk, to carry their own shopping bags, all came to mind. As did the women I used to teach in the jail. I am sure any of them would have changed places with this elderly lady in a moment. She may have had a bent over back and viewed the world from a different angle to most people. But she had independence and mobility. And she was powering along at a good pace too.
It doesn’t matter how difficult life can be at times. And we are all challenged on occasions. Shifting the perspective can make all the difference sometimes. After all, what may appear as a storm to one person may seem a blessing to another.
Seeing life through someone else’s eyes too can help you view your own life from a different perspective. This can lift the lid on your own wisdom without you even realising, as new answers then flow. It’s all a matter of perspective really. There are blessings to be found through most situations, sometimes they are just hidden from normal view and need a new perspective to be found.
As we arrived home a couple of days later, the calm evening welcomed me in such a way that I almost bent to the ground to kiss it. The only sounds were frogs singing and the creek flowing by. And the sky was ablaze with stars. There were no streetlights, no traffic noises, nothing but frogs and stars.
The city may offer much more in entertainment and facilities. And it is fun to visit. But I count my blessings that my years of city life are behind me forever. If I ever miss the convenience of that world, I simply shift my perspective, looking at the reality of both choices. And I feel relief for the choice I’ve made.
And when I think of that little lady walking down that city street, I am reminded that things are not always as they appears to be. In fact, they are often much, much better.