Game Changer

Often, friends who like the rose photos I publish on Facebook offer one-word comments like stunning and perfect. Just as often, I wonder if they would choose the same words had I posted a picture of the same rose from another angle.

My photography techniques are not trade secrets. Tip the camera to hide the brown edges of a less-than-perfect petal. Crouch down to look up at a blossom and capture the blue sky above. Position yourself between the sun and the flower to soften the light.

Alien SpaceshipThis past summer I came across an Adobe rose that begged for a creative shot. The petals looked a bit more ruffled around the edges than most but, straight on, it was fairly nondescript. Everything changed when I positioned the camera at a slightly downward angle. All I could think was yowza. The flower suddenly looked like a futuristic spacecraft from a sci-fi movie.

Perspective is a game changer – in the garden and in life.

You know the feeling when you suddenly see something in a way you had never considered. The proverbial light bulb turns on, and you move forward with a new understanding. The result may be as simple as putting a puzzling question to rest or as dramatic as altering the course of your life.

Perspective loomed large in an exchange I had last week with someone I hold dear. This man is a musician. A good one. He’s not famous, but he is prolific and genuinely amazing.

And he is suddenly almost deaf.

Certainly, loud music diminished his hearing over the years. But something new and traumatic, something that I don’t completely understand, has robbed him of this precious sense. While he waits to see a specialist, the spoken word is nearly unintelligible and music sounds like nonsense.

Could anything be more tragic to a musician? Apparently, the answer to that question is yes.

Although there is a measure of sadness, he is less concerned about being able to perform than he is about having a conversation with his wife. Even more profound are his thoughts about hearing vs sight. He always assumed that, if he had to choose between the two, he would choose blindness. Not anymore.

From the perspective of near deafness, he would choose to see. For the rest of his life, no matter what happens with his hearing, he will always be able to turn the music on in his head. Not seeing his loved ones or the ever-changing world around him would be too great a sacrifice.

I’ve never really thought of this person – this incredibly gifted but sometimes ungrounded spirit – as a wise man. It turns out he is.

Now when I look at the snapshot of my rose garden spacecraft, I picture him – opening himself up to a different life he would never have considered had his perspective not changed. If this story was a Facebook post, I would comment bold, beautiful, and brave. I aspire to that level of grace.

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