Friday, December 12, 2008

Twelve Gifts: #5 – PERSPECTIVE

Our across-the-street neighbors were the coolest people! They were tag-team parents: She worked the day shift as a television producer, and he was a stay-at-home dad who worked the evening shift as an actor. I marveled at the way this close, Christian family worked everything out so seamlessly in a dog-eat-dog metropolis and such fiercely competitive industries. They were an inspiration. Bill entertained the boys, kept the garden looking great and also cooked like Martha Stewart...then transformed in the evening, playing major roles in touring Broadway productions like Ragtime and Lion King. Lynette had wild curly hair and a loud voice and a grand sense of humor. At work she hunted down human-interest news stories (often involving the neighbor kids), and at home she loved to hunt down vintage collectibles at yard sales and swap meets. Their house was decorated with a theme for every room. The boys’ room was nautical, the family room was bedecked with antique toys, and the kitchen -- my word, the kitchen! It was a pink-and-gray monument to 1950’s space age chic -- every appliance was streamlined pink enamel with diner-esque chrome trim, including the formica-topped dinette set. Fabulous!

Every once in awhile Bill would have to go out on an audition during the day, and asked me to watch the boys for him. When Lynette came to pick them up one afternoon, Nick started to whine, “I had a bad day.” I, somewhat mortified, tried to explain, “We actually had a lot of fun. We made cookies and they played pirates on the swingset and...” Nick cut me off. “I did. I had a bad day.” Suddenly his older brother Noah started clapping his hands over his ears and called out urgently, “No, Nicky, No! Don’t say it, Nicky. She’ll tell you the Christopher Reeve story!” And sure enough, Lynette launched in emphatically as if on cue, “You did NOT have a bad day, Nicky. Christopher Reeve had a bad day. He went out horseback riding and came home a quadriplegic. Now THAT’s a bad day!”


And who could possibly argue with that? I guess for most of us, when you put things in perspective, there ARE no bad days! What's more, Christopher Reeve became more heroic in the trials of real life than he ever was in his role as a superhero. Inspiring.

Thank you, Lynette, for the gift of perspective....


Of course the most important outlook to grasp, yet also most fleeting and difficult to hold onto, is infinitely positive --eternal perspective, the ability to see “things as they really are”, as God himself sees. That rich, expansive point of view that shrinks our sorrows and broadens our joys is truly among the greatest of gifts.

10 comments:

LisAway said...

That really IS a bad day! (and it's very sad)

But this story is very funny! I can't believe I've never told my kids about Christopher Reeve. And David used to say EVERY SINGLE DAY, "This is worst day EVER!" when the tiniest little thing didn't go his way. That story really does put things into perspective.

Heather of the EO said...

I'm going to have to keep that one under my hat, waiting for my boys to start saying they had a bad day and giving them a BIG dose of perspective :)

What a lovely family. I love how you describe things. I can SEE the kitchen.

Eowyn said...

What a great story. Like Heather, I can't wait to use that one on my kids. What a great gift!

Heidi Ashworth said...

Since Superman is my favorite super hero, nay, one of my fave people of all time, I'm surprised I didn't come up with that myself a long time ago--in light of the Big Guy and all, who could be in a wheelchair if his cerebral palsy was worse. Hmmm, maybe it's because I really prefer the Tom Welling version to the Christopher Reeve one? So sad that CR's wife died, too, and now their son is on his own. Now, that's a kid who has had a hard life!

Becky said...

We do this thing in our family called Rate Your Day. At bedtime, everybody gives a number, on a scale of one to ten. My boy has had a one for the last week, even though things are normal. Someday when he's a little older, I'll whip out the Christopher Reeve story.

Melanie J said...

When I was pregnant with my first baby, I kept thinking what gift I most wished I could give him. I thought about it for months. My final answer was wisdom, which I also define as perspective. But it's so precious because it can only be earned.

Kazzy said...

I still get teary about Christopher Reeve. I think it's great that the mom had hammered this story into her boys' heads. Sometimes that's the only way things stay in there!

Good reminder. Thanks!

Mrs4444 said...

Kind of reminds me of when my kids complain (at times) about going to church. "I just want to sleep in, Mom!" and I reply, "I'm pretty sure Jesus would have liked to 'sleep in' when he had an appointment to DIE ON THE CROSS FOR YOU!" (Works every time.)

Brillig said...

Wow, yah. My bad days are cakewalks. Love the perspective.

charrette said...

You know, after a whole series of mishaps today, I was about to declare this "a bad day" but then I remembered this post (and Christopher Reeve) and caught myself before I actually uttered the words. :)