As the seasonal rush starts, or started, I thought this past week what I want to make sure is never off my list is Perspective, as in "The ability to perceive things in their actual interrelations or comparative importance".
It is kind of easy to lose it but I am pretty determined not to. This past week a terrible train derailment happened on my metro north line. A train that I take at least 5 days a week. A train on scenic route which allows me quiet time to read before and after work, to look out the window at the beautiful Hudson river, to chat with my fellow commuter train friends and to listen to music quietly (what a difference a lot of that is from my subway experience - which is more "exciting"). The train derailment is a huge tragedy where many people were severely hurt, people died, a train operator will forever be tortured for falling asleep for just that many minutes and many are just that much more likely to hold their breath as they go through that turn. This derailment led to those of us who need this line to have to make alternate plans. There were drives to other towns, parking lots full and more crowding. It is easy to lose perspective when these things become part of a routine. It is important that we do not. It was inconvenient but PERSPECTIVE folks - we were not on that early Sunday train, we are able to walk a little further from a parking lot to a station still while some on that train will never walk again, we are able to plan with our loved ones while others lost theirs, we are alive enough to complain about the inconvenience.
A young actor died in a car crash. Tragic for any young person to go. An 90+ man died in a place far from our shores. I am not sure which one got more press. Perspective - while the loss of a young life is more tragic than the loss of one who was able to enjoy many years on this earth the loss in this case of Nelson Mandela for me is the one that should have gotten more coverage. The actor is sad and my sympathies are with his family and friends. The death of Mandela gets my sympathies for us all along with his friends and families.
I met a woman at the hair salon and in chatting with her realized she is that upper percent that even the 1% can seem less than wealthy too. She was lovely and in speaking with her I was impressed by how money was what she had not who she was. She spoke of values and of making sure that giving is a the best gift to teach children. I never expect this level of folk to "give it all away" that is wrong and frankly ridiculous. I do like to see that they use their money to help those in need. She was one of the nicest and most real people I have met. Perspective - the media and many want us to learn to judge one another but truth is unless you know the person you do not have that perspective. Perspective - you can be rich and be happy sharing.
So as I start to enjoy the lovely decorations, start to check off gift lists I want to make sure that we all remember that we have much in the way of one another, that sharing a piece of my heart and love with someone is a gift I easily wrap in a hug, that the gifts I give make the people who get them smile and give them pleasure for knowing that I picked it just for them and most of all that I enjoy the moments of Christmas.
That is my perspective and I am holding on to it ...