Whenever you are troubled, struggling, or uninspired by something, have you ever had somebody tell you this: “You just need to change your perspective”? It seems to me that little piece of advice can be simultaneously insightful and frustrating.
I start to think about all that is wrong with the world. All those struggling in Japan with the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami. Rebels fighting for freedom in north Africa and the middle east. Poverty and preventable disease around the world that I will never know. When I think about what I have to be happy about, there is so much. My home and my livelihood is safe. I enjoy liberties that others can only imagine. When I feel broke I look at our two cars in the garage, our cell phones, our televisions, our computer. We have food safe to eat, water safe to drink, and access to good health care.
But depression is a selfish disease. It tricks you into not giving a damn about any of that. Instead you focus on yourself. What happens if I get water in my basement from all the melting snow that is headed our way? Why does our government insist on stepping on our toes? Why do we always seem to have problems with my car? Can’t we spend less money? Why can’t I find anything in the fridge that I want to eat for lunch? Is this new health care bill going to actually make things better, or worse?
Depression says, “Go out tonight. Look at the stars. They are the same no matter how you look at them. Lay down. Stand on your head. Take a drive to the country. Go to Mom and Dad’s house. Still look the same, don’t they? ‘Change your perspective.’ What a bunch of bunk.” He can be pretty persuasive, that depression. What a jerk.
Then I remember the time that I was fortunate enough to be able to visit Australia. Sitting out on a cool night in the outback looking up at the stars. There it was. Not the largest or most impressive constellation in the sky. However, being from the Northern Hemisphere, I had never seen it before. The Southern Cross. I stared in awe, humbled by the experience and the beauty of its simplicity. For some reason that I will never understand, it made me feel both insignificant and important at the same time. I could understand why songs had been written about it.
So on those days that depression is tricking me into believing that I can’t change my perspective, I will just trick him back. I will change what I am looking at altogether. Maybe I will take in that new view for a day. Or a week. Or the rest of my life. What will you have to say then, depression?
THURSDAY FUN: Epic Cardinal Photo Quest Update
No, there are no pictures to show off yet. But this morning was so fun! The other day I bought a feeder and some cardinal blend to see what I could do to attract my friends. Yesterday I walked by the window on several occasions. No sightings. This morning, Little Guy was eating breakfast at the kitchen table and glanced out onto our deck.
“Daddy, a bird!”
“What’s he look like?” I said. I was in the other room.
“He’s a bird.” I would have to go about this from another angle.
“What color is he?”
“He’s red. He’s really really red!”
I went to the window and saw him, sitting nonchalantly on our deck. Of course the camera was in the man cave. I dashed downstairs to grab it, but by the time I got back–well I think you know. But it was certainly the closest sighting I have seen. Getting closer. Stay tuned.