Perspective is important. We know this – it’s just that it is so easy to lose perspective. This statement comes from an old BBC series that my wife and I recently came across, Lark Rise to Candleford. In this particular exchange, a man picks up a twisted piece of wood and is admiring it. He then shows it to the woman who is with him and she seems rather unimpressed with the “stick” to which he replies with the phrase, “it’s how we look at something that gives it beauty”.
This is true throughout nature. There are numerous animals that really seem quite unattractive, but when you pause to study defensive mechanisms and survival qualities, you begin to get a real appreciation for the beauty of the design. This goes beyond appreciating something that may seem hideous – it’s also true for the mundane. I am not a student of historical artwork and generally find that I have no real appreciation or interest in most artwork. However, several years ago, my wife and I were in the National Portrait Gallery with our younger son’s class and we just happened to be going through the exhibits with the High School Art teacher. Well, when one takes the time to explain brush strokes, layers of colors, and other techniques…the artwork begins to really become a thing of beauty. The masterful work of the artist was hidden from me because my perspective was very broad, but a more focused perspective truly made all the difference.
But this statement goes further even still – it is also true for many situations and life experiences which we endure. Often times the most difficult experiences in life are painful and truly ugly. However, after surviving the storms of life, we have a better understanding of who we are, who is truly cheering us on, and what it important to us. In addition, we can see how we’ve grown. This perspective makes what seemed ugly at the time appear to have beauty and value.