Friday, July 16, 2010

“I just don’t see it that way,” I finally said. I was in a conversation with a friend who was just appalled I didn’t agree with him. “We’re looking at this from different perspectives, different backgrounds and different motivations. There really isn’t a right or wrong, just different. So let’s just leave it at that,” I smiled and said good-bye. Sometimes that’s the best way to avoid a full-blown, pointless argument.

It’s sad to watch friends, families, businesses partnerships and churches break apart over something as unimportant as color of carpet. But it happens. When I was a kid I remember reading the story of the six blind Chinese men who went to see an elephant. The first one felt the elephant’s side and concluded the elephant was like a wall. The second one stood at the elephants face, touched the tusk and claimed an elephant was very much like a spear. The other four felt the elephant’s knee, trunk, ear and tail. Obviously each man had a different opinion of what an elephant was. No one was wrong and no one was right.

I have an elderly friend who sometimes wears me out. She become obsessive about the silliest and pointless things ... in my opinion. It frustrates me because I think she should see a bigger picture. Then I have to remember she sees the world through a one inch picture frame while I’m looking through a frame the size of the IMAX movie screen. She looks at one tiny part of one thing at a time. I see hundreds of things at once. Neither of us is wrong or right, we just see and process things differently.

When I take the time to listen and try to understand someone else’s perspective I always learn something. If we all saw things the same way there would be no need for the paint industry to come up with so many colors.

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