The Big Picture

There is an art installation somewhere honoring Nelson Mandela. It is made of carved sticks stuck into the ground that together form a likeness of Mandela’s face when viewed from a single spot, some distance away.

When I saw the images online I thought:

A) This is why I am not an artist. Never in a million years would I have thought, “I’m going to carve and arrange some sticks to resemble Nelson Mandela’s face.” Multimedia artists astonish me.

B) Cool idea, with the sticks though. It is an excellent depiction of a great leader. And

C) Does everyone really have to stand in the same spot to see the image come together? I’m having a hard time quantifying why this disappoints me.

I suppose I don’t like being told how I must see something. Actually, I don’t think anyone does.

I don’t mean to be dismissive of artistic achievement. I simply chafe under the idea of there really being only one way to see something, whether it’s a trend, a person, or a concept.

We are all given brains and hearts and eyes with which to evaluate our world. The way we do this affords us perspective.

My life has taught me that our perspectives are different, depending on where we stand and where we’ve been. The way we see things varies based on our vision and our interpretation of events.

So why is it that sometimes we can’t see the things that are the closest to us? It’s like a situation can be under our noses and yet it eludes us.

I think that we can be too close. We can lack perspective, simply because the task at hand is mashed up against our faces and we really can’t get a good look at it. We are living with it, but we grow accustomed to it pressing so close that we forget what we need to do.

This is me and Jack sometimes. Things get crazy incrementally, often over many months, and until I take a step back and get some distance, I’m blind to what I need to do.

Take the “rough patch” (i.e. daily aggression and destructiveness) we are having with Jack. We have simply been coping and managing for so long, it’s like I’ve forgotten to pursue other avenues in dealing with the behavior.

Lack of perspective is my first problem. Lack of focus is my second.

I’ve stepped back to see things more clearly. Now I need to stop scattering my energy and concentrate it’s strength. I need to focus like a laser on my sons and my family (and my own blasted mental well-being) to better address things.

Which means I’m going to be saying ‘no’ to more stuff. I’ll also be saying a hearty ‘yes!’ to other things. Things that don’t outwardly make me look like a noteworthy community helper, but which make all the difference to the people who live in my house.

Time to man the giant laser beam.

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