Perspective from a Tree

Edging outward on a sturdy limb I lost my balance right away but caught myself. I looked down at the ground some 15 feet below, my own limbs quivering after the espresso shot of adrenaline. What am I doing up here, I thought.

As a child I would climb trees over 50 feet tall, my 65-pound body clinging to the spindliest top branch on the windiest of days short of a thunderstorm, though my favorite time of day to climb was at dusk.

I would find the tallest tree in my neighborhood and scramble to the top, looking west over a rooftop of trees as far as I could see. Birds would circle on their final approach for the evening while bats took flight toward the frenzy of mosquitoes crowding fluorescent street lights. The rustle of leaves rolled toward me, a cool breeze brushing my face—the air always smelled cleaner up there. That scene gave me a perspective early in life that reached far beyond the chalk-smudged horizon of yellow, orange, and red.

Maybe I couldn’t see what was beyond the horizon, but I knew there was a beyond, a destination, some thing or some place that beckoned me from down below. Could I get there? Would I get there? That didn’t matter. That it was there is all that mattered.

perspective [per-spek-tiv]
the proper or accurate point of view or the ability to see it; objectivity
*perspective. Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. Harper Collins Publishers. (accessed: October 16, 2013).

When we intentionally stop long enough in our way-too-busy tracks to ask ourselves two crucial questions—”Who am I?” and “Where am I going?”—we will begin to gain a hope-filled perspective for our lives. Our daily routine can sometimes blind us from answering those questions, let alone asking, leaving us confused and wandering aimlessly day after day, like something is missing but we’re not quite sure what it is and how to get there.

If we don’t pause, we are potentially missing out on something huge in our lives, maybe a breakthrough we’ve been needing, maybe a purpose we’ve been searching for, or a hope we’ve so desperately reached for.

Do something spontaneous that breaks your norm, gives you a chance to look down at the ground at where you’ve been, then look to the horizon and ask yourself who you are (what is your heart’s deep desire?) and where you are going (how/where can you use that desire to make a difference?), and take the first step to get there. (Disclaimer: Opening yourself to new perspectives is risky business. If you climb a tree, be warned that you might get so excited at what you see that you could fall!)

“So where does Wisdom come from? And where does Insight live? … God alone knows the way to Wisdom, he knows the exact place to find it.” — Job 28:20,23 (The Message)

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