Wednesday, January 17, 2018

On Perspectives and Prejudice...

I was traveling today. As we made our approach into Minneapolis it was still early morning, barely light. The flat, snow-covered landscape spread out before us was a relief of black, white, and grey as far as the eye could see. It looked lifeless and cold--bitterly, horribly, bone-chillingly cold.

But then, as we turned and changed direction to line up with the runway, everything changed. That change in direction brought a completely different sight. The pink and golden glow of the sunrise was now visible and brought new color, warmth, and vitality to the scene. Don't get me wrong, it STILL looked cold, but now the landscape had life!

Just a little change in direction produced a completely new perspective. So what does that have to do with prejudice? Prejudice simply means I have pre-judged. I think I already know everything there is to know about something--be it a person, place, institution, or situation--and no additional information will convince me otherwise. But how is that possible? We don't even know everything there is to know about ourselves! Every single one of us have blind spots--places where our perspective is limited, places where a little shift could bring a whole new world into view.

The first step is simply to notice what is happening around you. There were about 160 fellow passengers on board that flight with me. Did they have the same experience? I can confidently say "no" for many of them simply because they weren't looking! They were asleep, their window shades were drawn, they were reading, busy on their phones, or otherwise distracted. Some of them saw exactly what I saw, but could see nothing more than a cold, snow-covered landscape. I'm so glad that simple change in direction not only gave me a new, beautiful perspective this morning, but also the opportunity to consider the ways I too often get stuck in the way I look at things. I hope I have many more opportunities to notice, to see and understand things in a new and different way. Hoping the same for you today.