Monday, June 30, 2008

Learning from Another's Perspective

Today I was reminded of an experience
I had when I was a child.

I grew up with my grandparents, and
my grandmother was losing her sight,
and was in and out of a wheelchair
since she had broken both hips.

What I remember was one day I heard
somewhere - on the TV or radio - that
if you wanted to appreciate someone
who was blind, and what they were
going through, you should walk around
with your eyes closed, or in some way
unable able to see.

I couldn't have been more than eleven
at the time. I don't remember if there
was anything about not being able to
walk, or about wheelchairs, but I
remember, at one point wheeling around
with her chair, and walking around
with my eyes closed.

My grandmother caught me at one point,
and was really upset. She didn't get
why I was doing what I was doing. She
told me that I should be grateful for
my sight. I wish she could have realized
that what I was doing was an exercise
in appreciation, which could definitely
translate into gratitude.

Instead, coming from her perspective
which was a life severely limited by
the changes in her body, she was angry
and, I think defensive - somehow thinking
I was mocking her.

I don't remember much about my childhood,
but somehow I always remembered that.

It must have been the strong emotion
conjured inside of me from the hurt
my grandmother felt in her lack of
understanding, coupled with
my understanding of the intent
of the person who made the suggestion.

I was reminded of this today when I saw
the following video on YouTube.
It is about dining in the dark. It is
about how the other senses get fired
up when the one that many of us depend
on the most is unavailable.

The video is awesome in a few ways,
because besides showing sighted people
a thing or two to appreciate, it also
shows how those who live
with compromised sight, can function
well enough to even be the wait staff.

If you have a couple of minutes,
maybe you want to check it out. Maybe
you'll find yourself with an
interesting perspective to consider
in the process. After all, perspective
is appreciated the most when there
are a few to choose from. Don't you
enjoy the chocolate cake that much more
when you choose it over the carrots? :-)

Have a great day!

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