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June 2023

Pat Ward

Perspective:  The dictionary defines it as, “a particular attitude toward a way of regarding something, a point of view; a true understanding of the relative importance of things, a sense of proportion.  

Most of us think very little about how our daily activities, our understanding of life, and our relationships with others are shaped by our personal point of view.  If your personal circumstances change suddenly, the new situation can radically alter your perspective with unexpected consequences.

My personality is one that loves being with people.  I get energy from being around others.  I like to stay busy, and I am not adept at being still.  I read verses in the Bible like Psalm 46:10 that says, BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD; or in Luke 5:16 where I am reminded that Jesus OFTEN WITHDREW TO LONELY PLACES TO PRAY.  Those verses give me pause. I think to myself that I need to schedule time on my calendar to be still or withdraw to a lonely place to pray.  At the same time, I realize how easily I allow our busy world to distract me from doing the very thing that will give me the very thing I need most–God’s perspective.

Recently, I injured my meniscus.  It involved a trip to the ER, an MRI, and a consultation with an orthopedic doctor. My doctor told me that I would need physical therapy.  It also involved having my knee in an immobilizer and taking several days to rest.   

This new situation taught me some things about myself that I already knew deep down:  I am not good at “being still” or resting. My children and their spouses can testify to that truth! I have been impatient with this injury because it cramped my lifestyle. Being forced into a pause got my    attention in a way that I could not easily deny.  None of us wants a forced pause that we do not choose or to hear the diagnosis of a long battle ahead of us.  

There have also been some good consequences of my sudden shift in perspective. During my days of a slower pace, I thought about so many of you that I have spent time with through the years.

I think of a group of ladies I meet for lunch on a regular basis.  They are just a step ahead of me in maturity, but they seem far ahead of me emotionally and spiritually.  Their lifestyles have become more limited and cramped.  Some have given up the independence of driving.  I see that this is a much harder adjustment than I imagined. I know that I will drive again, but not being able to drive was incredibly frustrating.  Being unable to perform as many tasks as I did last month was depressing.  I want to be more like my friends who choose joy in the midst of their struggles and who are grateful for the many abilities they still have.  As I improve, I will intentionally spend time with them and learn from their experience and wisdom.

I also think of two patients I regularly meet with.  One has had to start dialysis, something he desperately hoped to avoid.  That new necessity dictates much of his schedule, but he chooses to spend much of that time checking on me and keeping up with a group of young college students he mentors.  He works on staying joyful, and at the clinic, he is making new friends. I often say about him that the only friend he doesn’t have is the one he hasn’t met yet.  He has changed my perspective.

The other patient lost his battle with cancer.  I witnessed him face that unchosen crisis with faithful courage. When I listen to his wife who lost her husband too young and too soon, she continues to help me see new possibilities.  They have changed my perspective.

Join with me in the days and weeks ahead to become more intentional about being still and being in the presence of God to gain His perspective.  Join with me in pausing to spend time with others who are in a forced pause of their routine.  Perhaps we will learn together what the Psalmist and Jesus knew so well: in the silence, we may hear our loving Father’s heart throbbing with loving kindness in our crisis.

Thank you for your generosity in supporting Encouragement Ministries so that Russ and I can continue to reach out to those in crisis.

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