Perspective. It's all in our perspective of a what comes at us each day, much more than the actual events that take place. How does one person overcome and persevere tragedy seemingly effortlessly, and another person crumbles in the midst of the same set of circumstances? Well certainly there are more reasons than can be counted for why this is true, but I would like to suggest that there is one common thread that flows through the stories of success, well actually there are two. One is Jesus. That one is easy. But the other I believe is something that flows from the first, and that's perspective.
I visited a friend of mine yesterday that was in a car accident about three weeks ago. She was on her way home from a doctor's appointment and saw a car moving into her lane, and so she swerved. She swerved her vehicle directly into a picket fence that lined the road, and then found herself pinned in her car in the middle of a field. When the car came to its' resting place, she looked down to see her right hand holding her left hand...that was no longer attached to her arm. Her left hand had been completely cut off. Clearly and understandably so, she was in shock and remembers thinking "this is not good". She then remembers resigning herself to the fact that she was about to die and she told God or "Bud" as she will sometimes say, "I am ready". A few more blurred minutes passed and before she knew it, she was in an ambulance heading to the hospital. An unidentified man had tied a tourniquet around her bleeding arm, which is ultimately what saved her life. Her hand however could not be saved.
I do not know what I expected from my visit with her, but I certainly did not expect what I saw. Jen was still Jen. She talked a long time about life before she talked about her hand. When I could no longer handle the pink elephant in the room that clearly was only crowding me, I moved into my questions about the accident. She was so calm about the whole thing, very matter of fact. I didn't get the sense that she was in denial, or guarding herself from feeling the gravity of the situation, I just sensed perspective. She said, "Amy, those picket fences shot all the way through my car like spears, some missing me by no more than an inch, I am lucky to be alive". I was a little taken back, but then later I wondered why such truth and clarity would be so shocking to me. She was alive and so she was grateful. She continued with "I have two choices. I can be mad at God, the devil, and everybody else and be miserable for the rest of my life. Or I can choose not to, and I choose not to. It's a choice".
A choice. Just like that. I left our visit impressed with her, but honestly I think I was really more impressed with our God. He impresses me with the strength He has. He impresses me with the grace He pours out. He impresses me with the "eternal-ness" of all that He is. He doesn't tire, He doesn't grow weary, and He never runs out of all that is good. He didn't dump out a truck load of grace on Jen and then sit down in order to replenish His supply, the flow of life never ceases to flow. That is impressive to me, and it made me glad to know Him. I didn't think I could be any more smitten with Him then I already was, and yet I was surprised once again...and I was grateful for her life and for the much needed perspective that she unknowingly handed to me.