I’ve been told I see life through roses colored glasses, meaning I have an optimistic perspective, often seeing challenging situations to be better than they are. It’s probably more accurate to say I choose to look at things a little differently. Even when faced with a crisis, rather than panic, my brain seems to automatically problem-solve from a positive perspective.
A few weeks ago this perspective was challenged when my husband’s finger had a detrimental run-in with our bike rack. He had been on a bike ride, and I realized he was home when I heard him in the garage. I was in my office when he called to me. It wasn’t an alarming call, but a quiet plea. I returned with my acknowledgment to which he said: “I need you NOW!”
When I entered the kitchen, he was pacing with his hand wrapped in paper towels held to his chest. He said: “I need you to take me to the emergency room.”
I thought he must have had a bike accident, maybe broke his hand. I asked what happened only to have him return to the garage while saying: “I need ice.”
I quickly grabbed a ziplock and started filling it with ice when he returned and said: “We need to put this on ice.” There in his free hand, he held the end of his finger — from the top knuckle up.
The reality of what had happened still wasn’t registering in my brain. I pulled out a container, put the finger in water (wrong thing to do) and ran to get my shoes. We were in the car and on our way within minutes.
We spent the next few hours in the emergency room where the story, in its entirety, finally came out. My husband had been moving the bike rack only to have it slam down and chop off the top of his finger.
The Tender Mercies
During this whole time, my husband remained amazingly calm. He was talking with our nurses and doctors, calling them by name. His ability to stay level headed was a blessing.
Our family members were the first responders, providing support and a priesthood blessing. Later friends rallied around with visits, offers for meals, shoveling our driveway (a blizzard hit the day after), and countless other services all adding to the peace we felt enveloping us.
When we finally got home, I whipped up a quick dinner and brought it up to our room where my husband was lying down. He asked me to bless the food. As I folded my arms and bowed my head, I had to stop and think for a minute. Rather than muttering a few quick words I considered what I wanted to be feeling in that moment. My husband had just lost part of his finger to a freak accident. Was I mad about what he wasn’t going to be able to do without his missing limb?
No, my thoughts went to the fantastic team in the ER, the wisdom of our specialist, the many tender mercies we had seen in the last few hours. Was it an ideal outcome? Maybe it was.
Challenge Your Perspective
Sometimes it is the trials and hard challenges that humble us enough to turn back to the Lord. I write about mindset all the time, but the real brain work is in keeping our minds in line with Him. It is normal to have our thoughts take off on some detrimental tangent, but to look at our trials through a rose-colored lens, we have to train our brain to act in faith. We get to choose our focus instead of going on autopilot.
I had already said several prayers in my heart, but as I uttered our first prayer together, I felt gratitude and saw the tender mercies.
We still mourn the loss of my husband’s finger. It will be missed, but we also know the lessons we’ve learned are more valuable than the appendage. They are eternal lessons bringing us closer to God.
For now we see through a glass, darkly”
I think Paul was telling us sometimes our perspective is dark, cloudy, and imperfect. As a girl who has worn glasses or contacts for most of her life, I can relate to how it feels to not see clearly. Without corrective lenses, I missed the smallest of details.
Tired of the temporary fix of contacts and glasses I opted for Lasik surgery in my mid-thirties. To correct my imperfect vision the doctor used a laser to reshape my cornea so could more accurately focus light on the retina.
Isn’t’ that interesting? To correct my vision the shape of my eye had to change so I could focus light.
Changing Our Focus
I think our perspective is much the same way. To see things in a more positive or eternal way we have to change the way we focus on light. By nature, light is what brings clarity.
Darkness, on the other hand, is the absence of light.
Satan tries to exploit the worldly pressures we all face. He works to dim our light, short-circuit the connection, cut off the power supply, leaving us alone in the dark. These pressures are common conditions in mortality, but Satan works hard to isolate us and tell us we are the only one experiencing them.”
Jesus Christ is also known as the light and life of the world. He is the source to light our “dark glass,” brightening our perspective. When we act in faith, connecting with Him, our perspective changes. The most important thing I’ve learned is my perspective won’t change unless I put for the effort and do the work. Changing my focus is hard and real, but feels so much better. I will always choose to focus on the light rather than live in the dark. Sometimes it’s the only way to keep our head above water.
This life is all about change. We are on this earth to learn and sometimes the most important lessons come in the form of a challenge or trial. How we decide to face those challenges determines our growth rate. Do we want to become a better version of our self or are we okay to settle for status quo? I’ve found the way I choose to look at a challenge makes a huge difference in the way I’m able to handle it. I have seen God’s hand in my life and have felt him guide me to the light over and over. I’m grateful for His love and sustaining power.