Throwback Thursday – Perspective

Finding Perspective is a lot like meditation. It is hardest to do when you need it most. Reading this post, written in easier times back in 2009, I realized that it was time for me to retreat into barbecue corner again and put my life in perspective.   Once again, I need to see all the ways in which I am blessed.

Early yesterday evening, I was helping my son with a creative writing project for school. He is a late bloomer who has suddenly become a serious student, and it’s fun to hear him begin to talk like a writer. He likes the way I write and asked if you can learn to have writing come so easily. I told him that it takes time to find your voice but once you do the words come more naturally. I also told him there’s no substitute for simply writing a lot.

Working with my son took longer than I expected and by the time I came downstairs, the aromas of dinner cooking filled the air … spicy zucchini with tomato sauteing on the stove and the earthy smell of potatoes baking. In the family room, my son-in-law sat in one chair, reading to my oldest grandson. The floor is littered with toys. Cleaning the garage a few weeks ago, my son and I found a box of Fisher Price Adventure People that were my son’s absolute favorite toys. These are old-fashioned imagination toys, each set providing everything a child needed for a particular adventure like camping and space travel including vehicles, people and accessories. My grandchildren took to them like my son and his friends did, and my younger grandson was wheeling a jeep with two kayaks on top across the family room floor. My just-walking granddaughter half walked, half crawled through the chaos, talking her own baby language and smiling whenever noticed … which is most of the time. My wife inhabited the kitchen, trying to keep everything on schedule as she waited for her tardy grill chef, while she bantered with my daughter. I stepped into the kitchen and said something outlandish, just to see them shake their heads in unison.

Since dinner was almost ready, I took the Teriyaki flat iron steaks into the yard and lit the barbecue. Minutes later they were sizzling on the grill, their sweet aroma making me certain I’m a carnivore. Our barbecue is in the corner of the yard, so that when I lean against the counter, I’m looking back toward the house. The overcast of the day had lifted and the sky was filled with stars, at least by Southern California standards. The lights inside cast a warm glow over the backyard and I watched my son leave for school and the kids wander over to the the patio door to mouth Hi Papa before going back to the chaos on the family room floor. My wife and daughter were laughing in the kitchen window. I looked at our house, which I sometimes forget to love … it looks especially homey at night with the family in the windows. It’s not a mansion but it’s beautiful, especially from the corner by the barbecue, where you can take in the patio and the flowers. And it hit me … I am so blessed.

This is not the first time this has happened as I stood in barbecue corner, andbbq corner there’s a reason. The view gives me perspective, allowing me to look upon the things I love best … home, family, friends … without being in the middle of it all. From barbecue corner, I can’t hear when one of the kids gets scolded or my daughter and wife annoy each other. I can’t see that there’s a spot on the hallway ceiling that needs repair or that the ice machine isn’t making ice. I can’t see the clock to notice that my son’s leaving ten minutes late for school. To appreciate an oil painting, you have to stand back to let the details meld into what the artist intended. Sometimes to appreciate a life, you have to do the same thing.

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