Finding my lost perspective.


Perspective (noun): a way of regarding situations, facts, etc, and judging their relative importance.

Yesterday I had a doctor’s appointment, and I was worried. I don’t usually worry about doctor’s appointments, because there’s usually nothing to worry about. But I just had a gloomy feeling about this one, and I was stressing.

I’ve had a couple of skin cancers, and recently had two spots removed from my back. One of them wasn’t healing right, and had a black spot in the middle. A black spot just like the one on the poster in the exam room, 1 – 2 millimeters from the previous biopsy. So I made an appointment and waited.

(Spoiler alert: I am fine. This is not a reveal.)

As I was getting ready (and looking for a little sympathy), I posted a vague status on my Facebook page about being nervous. As I hoped, friends hopped on it immediately with words of encouragement, and I felt better.

One of the replies was from my friend M. He had a doctor’s appointment yesterday, too. The one where he went to his oncologist to find out what kind of medications he can take for the duration of his incurable, inoperable cancer. So he can function and feel better and make memories with his wife and young son. And he got what he considered good news. He’s going to try another type of chemo, with the hope of slowing down or shrinking the tumor, buying more time. Which he called “a very, VERY good thing.”

I couldn’t help but compare his good news to my bad news. And I felt a little ashamed that I had lost my perspective.

Later in the day my friend L started a dialogue about gratitude. She shared a story about a friend who is bearing a difficult load, and that her “silly, everyday problems” are trivial compared to her friend’s.

Relative importance. Perspective.

Then later in the day I read the blog of a Missouri pastor, who shared a couple of stories about perspective. I’ll share with you a bit of the last one, a story about a man visiting a dying family member.

His brother-in-law requested a wet cloth for his lips. Then he said, “We start off wanting $1,000,000. Over time, that keeps getting pared down until all we want is a little water on our lips.” 

There it is. Perspective. Things are as big a deal as we make them. No bigger.

Source: thecareerblog.wordpress.com

It’s not about what happens to us. It’s about how we choose to respond to what happens to us. And my “problems” (dare I even call them that??) are nothing. Not parenting a child with the learning disabilities, not having a spot cut off of my back, not caring for my MIL.

Because the worst thing that will happen to me today is better than the best thing that will happen to someone else. And I’m not going to forget that any time soon. 

How do you keep things in perspective? Or do you? Or should you?

26 thoughts on “Finding my lost perspective.

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  3. becomingcliche

    What a beautiful post. It truly is about perspective. We’ve had a series of mishaps recently, but none of them have been anything more than an inconvenience and an expense. Money is fleeting. It comes and goes. Health is something else entirely.

    I am glad all is well for you.

    Reply
  4. Nina Badzin

    It’s such a hard balance keeping perspective while also taking whatever issue we’re having at the time seriously. I totally get how you felt though. I remember feeling that way when my son broke his wrist last summer. To be in that children’s hospital for something so benign . . . VERY lucky.

    Reply
  5. Heather Holbrook

    Yeah, my computer is finally letting me view your posts again, and am I glad I was able to see this one. Thanks for the awesome reminder. Yeah, I’m with many of the other commenters – when I think I’ve got it tough, I try to help others, and remind myself of the parents or people who have a lot harder situation than myself. Thanks again for helping us keep our perspective!

    Reply
  6. Running from Hell with El

    Gah–my comment disappeared!! First, I am so glad everything turned out okay! Second, when I lose perspective, I go do something creative or productive and that usually helps me get my thoughts off my own problems. xo

    Reply
  7. Running from Hell with Elr

    Well-said, my friend. Gah. I lose my perspective sometimes too. What helps me is to get out of my head and to go do something creative or productive. In the process, my thoughts usually shift away from whatever is worrying me. So glad it turned out okay!! xo

    Reply
  8. Lipstick and Chaos

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! You’re post was excellent. It is exactly what is needed in this hub-bub of a world. I find, to answer your question, that when I become so self-absorbed in what I perceive is “problematic and dramatic” that a story comes along and changes that energy immediately. I have a g/f who was never suppose to live outside of her teens bc she has a very, very rare form of cancer. She has had surgeries and seen countless doctors since she was a young girl. She flies every other week to San Antonio, Texas for a special drug test therapy to keep her tumors down-sized. SWA flies her for free, every other week. The drug company recently ended her trial after years and years bc she was the only one in the study. It is that rare. So instead of getting bummed about the possibility of a daunting future, she found another trial, closer to home and SWA is still agreeing to fly her for free to the new site.
    For me, that is perspective.

    Reply
      1. Lisha @ The Lucky Mom Post author

        Wonderful story! Thanks for sharing. I just saw my friend’s Facebook status, and it said “Today on ‘Chemo and a movie’…” We’re lucky to have such friends, and to be the beneficiaries of their love!

        Reply
  9. Shannon Pruitt from 'Mynewfavoriteday'

    You are ever amazing Lisha…I nearly burst into tears reading about your friend. I am so sorry and many prayers for this new chemo. We can look in so many things and find our perspective, but sometimes we must also confront our own fears and sorrows for without them we have to perspective at all. I grapple with this all the time but seeing women like you and reading the words here and on the pastors blog reminds me we are all forever balancing and checking and rechecking some more. Thanks so much for this and all your brilliance always! Xo

    Reply
  10. Renée A. Schuls-Jacobson

    Lish:

    It is soooo easy to lose perspective. This whole bar mitzvah journey has been an exercise in trying to remember what we are doing. We don’t need to have a premium bar, we don’t need to have fancy giveaways, we don’t need a lot of things that everyone has been telling me I simply MUST do. A few days ago I learned a friend’s son has cancer. He’s 13 and just had his bar mitzvah. There’s that perspective thing again, right? And suddenly I felt so guilty for fussing about my place cards. Because my son is healthy. Praise G-d. These are the blessings we can easily lose track of. I’m glad to hear you are okay. You have such a big, giving heart. I think it is easy to feel like someone is squishing it sometimes.

    Reply
    1. Lisha @ The Lucky Mom Post author

      Hearing such news instantly puts it all in perspective. I’ll be praying for your friend’s son, and for his family. And I’m looking forward to hearing how PERFECT his bar mitzvah was!

      Reply
  11. Donnell Jeansonne

    First off, I’m glad to read you’re fine. It’s good to remember that there are others with problems insurmountable compared to our own. But it’s also important to face our own battles, I think, and recognize that they shape us in ways. Everyday I’m reminded how much worse our situation could be, but it still bites to remember how things were and to realize they will never be again.

    Reply
    1. Lisha @ The Lucky Mom Post author

      They do, indeed, shape us Donnell. I have fond memories of happy days at the beach and holidays and smiles from my kids. But my challenges are definitely what molded me.

      And this is a lesson I know. I just let it slip away from me. I plan to hold on tighter this time.

      Reply
  12. lauras50by50

    I always put things in perspective, it seems the right thing to do. But one time a friend told me that I was rationalizing away my pain…Yes, that is true, it is my personality to deal with my problems by rationalizing that others have worse problems. But something does get lost in this…that we need to allow ourselves to deal with our own pain, no matter how small or petty in comparison to others, rather than shove it off into a deep corner to fester. So, Lisha, despite the fact, the very sad fact, that other people have terribly sad and tragic things going on in their lives, you deserve your own scared/nervous feelings about your skin cancer and you deserve the warm presence of your FB friends to reassure you that you are loved.

    Reply
    1. Lisha @ The Lucky Mom Post author

      Everyone’s pain is real. I’ve had so much on my shoulders lately that I’ve forgotten to tend to my own needs, especially my emotional needs. I need to get that back on the list of things to take care of.

      Laura, thank you for the kind words. I appreciate every one of the followers my page has, and their messages to me are as real as if they had been spoken in person. Because none of them has to be there, they chose to be there. Just like you, here.

      Reply
  13. Lisa H.

    Indeed, my friend, indeed! My hubby called last night from our new home where he had just done the walk-through prior to next week’s closing. He was fussing about needing more insulation in the attic and a few nicks in the paint while I was crying, “Honey, what’s the matter, why are you crying?” he said. Well, I just talked with one of my oldest and closest friends who is caring for a spouse with cancer that has returned along with 2 frail elderly parents with multiple serious health issues and dealing with a difficult adult child while also working full-time. I worry for my friend and wish I could make it all go away and am so grateful that for this moment all we have to worry about is a punch list of tiny things to be done in our new house before we move in. Gratitude is a choice I would prefer to make any day!

    Reply
    1. Lisha @ The Lucky Mom Post author

      I want to share with you one of my favorite expressions. It was painted on the wall of my friend’s kitchen many years ago.

      “A joyful heart sits at a bountiful feast.”

      When we feel joyful, we feel blessed. When joy evades us, we don’t. I want to find my joy and hold it close, so that every day I can acknowledge my blessings and be grateful for them. And I count you among my blessings!

      Reply
      1. Lisa H.

        Thank you, Lisha. You are certainly one of my blessings, all those years ago when we were kids and again today! I am very grateful to call you my friend.

        Reply
  14. Tracy Scallan

    Lisha, I really needed to see this today. I’ve been battling a bladder infection for over a week now and the pain (so I thought) has been tremendous. I am not one to stop doing the normal everyday stuff even when sick, but this infection really put a halt to my work and everyday activities. Praying for your back to be healed , and your dear friend with cancer. Thanks for always encouraging us.

    Reply

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