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Life Through Many Lenses

Life lives, life dies. Life laughs, life cries. Life gives up and life tries. But life looks different through everyone’s eyes.
— Unknown

The above quote showed up on my Facebook page this morning. It was just the impetus I needed to write about an email I recently received from a reader–I will refer to this reader as Reader X, in a masculine voice. The email has been on my mind the past few weeks, as I processed the lesson in it and if I wanted or needed to respond publicly. I decided I should.

Before I address the email, I’d like to say I always enjoy hearing from my readers. I value your input, your comments, and your feedback–good, bad or indifferent–so please continue to reach out to me! And, like I did with Reader X, I will respond personally, as warranted.

Reader X took me to task. It wasn’t my grammar or writing style, it was that he felt I was, in his terms, “blowing smoke…” and completely out of touch with the “real problems people have”. Reader X went on to tell me many of his life’s problems, who he blames for each, and how “someone like you couldn’t possibly have any experiences as bad as these”. The irony in that: someone who has no clue what I may or may not have experienced in my life barking at me for not having awareness of what he has experienced.

Anyway…Reader X is right, I do not know him or his particular circumstances. Nor do I know you. Even if I did, chances are I wouldn’t see things exactly as you do or respond as you do; nor is it necessary that I do. In fact, I believe the opposite is true: we need contrast, diversity.

This diversity in thought, in perception, in reality, is what makes us individuals and not drones. It is why we cannot all agree on how our government should be run, how our children should be raised, or even how a specific task be performed. It is why we have a multitude of inventions and scientific discoveries. It is why our crayon box has a rainbow of colors and not just one. A life of diversity is exciting; one of conformity is bland. I’ve never been a conformer and one terse email will not change me! I’m going to continue doing what I do best: being ME, with my complete toolbox of uniqueness, and sharing that with the world anyway I can, including this blog.

When I began blogging, I did so with clear intentions:

  • To connect with others
  • To share my perspective as one way of looking at a situation
  • To inspire through my words
  • To offer empathy and understanding
  • To bring lightness (humor) and love through my words

I continue to blog with nothing more than those intentions.

I don’t feel compelled to layout my entire life’s experiences, nor do I find it necessary to pry into yours. Suffice it to say, I get it…we all have a unique life experience. Those experiences shape us, they help us form our beliefs and attitudes, and they can either be springboards for rising above or chains that hold us down.

Regardless of where you are, what you’ve been through, what you most desire or fear, my words are offered to you only in the spirit of generosity and kindness. Sometime they may resonate with you, other times they will not. That’s ok! To me, it’s no different from choosing one television show over another or deciding to eat Thai instead of Italian: it’s all personal preference and it’s what makes the world a more interesting place!

The lesson, and my message resulting from the email is this: No matter what we think we know about someone or their set of circumstances, we will never walk a mile in their shoes. It’s quite impossible, because they’re walking in them at all times! The best we can do is realize what we see, what we believe, what we opinion, and what we view as solutions are based on looking through our own set of unique lenses. We must remember, others are doing the same. From time to time we can ask another to try on our lenses, and vice versa, but chances are things will always be a bit blurry and never seen exactly as someone else sees them.

While I concede I do not know anyone else’s life as they do, I know one undeniable fact: None of us, not one, gets out of this life alive. Why waste our days forcing our viewpoint on others, asking them to adapt to our beliefs, insisting they follow our own set of values, or condemning them for operating in their own way. Hold your perspectives and I’ll hold mine–but, perhaps we should hold them gently as we may want to let them go and embrace others–and accept that life is not the same for any two of us.

Life is delicate and all too short to get worked up about petty things–and in the big perspective, most of the things we fret over day in and day out are pretty petty (oh, this is my perspective, you can have another!).

How about just for today, you let go of managing the world and instead focus on taking care of and sharing love with yourself, your family, your friends and community. And, go fly a kite! Seriously, do something whimsical today!

The Yellow Kite


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