An Issue of Perception: Choose Love and Life

Here’s a little story about perception.

There was this little boy who wanted so badly to have an ice cream sandwich from the ice cream truck. There always seemed to be a reason why he couldn’t have what he wanted. No cash on hand, bad timing, whatever the reason, the young boy’s hope of getting an ice cream sandwich from the truck just wasn’t happening.

Thinking he could make up for it, the dad stopped on his way home from work one hot summer afternoon and bought a box of ice cream sandwiches. When he showed them to his son, the little boy was not very impressed.

He said, “Thanks dad, but I really wanted one from the ice cream truck. It went by again today!”

The dad was a bit surprised and a little concerned about his son’s seeming entitlement. He replied, “Well, I am sorry, but these will have to do.”

He handed his son a tasty treat and watched him look at it. On the side of the wrapper, there just happened to be a picture of an ice cream truck. The boy saw the logo and said, “Dad, look. It’s an ice cream truck.”

The man smiled down at his son and said, “I imagine that ice cream sandwich will taste exactly like one straight from the ice cream truck.”

The boy thought for a moment, and frowning, said, “I don’t know, but I don’t think so.”

Perception is what drives our understanding of environment and situations. The little boy got exactly what he wanted as far as his dad was concerned, but the boy remained unconvinced. It’s been a minute for me, but I am pretty sure ice cream sandwiches come in 12-packs at the store. How often do we get something comparable to our desire and find an incapacity to appreciate it? Do we even know that our Dad wants to bless us with abundance, even a 12-pack? If we could admit that our perception of objects and events aren’t always clear, we might be able to see that there are other perceptions that are valid.

Maybe language is the issue. Language can be confusing. We can find more than one meaning everywhere we look.

For example, the title of my book is “How I See the World Can Change.” This statement can be viewed in more than one way.

First, it is a statement of acceptance that I believe my perception of the world can be altered.

Second, it is a message from the author saying that the total message of the book is his understanding of how the world can actually change.

I believe that our world is full of wonder, for sure, but I also see so much suffering. Families are destroyed by a member’s choice to use drugs and alcohol. Over time, relationships are strained and love becomes difficult. Forgiveness becomes almost impossible after years of perceived or real decisions made by addicts and alcoholics to continue to fall down over and over again.

Potential is lost. Each person has gifts and abilities. I have always wondered what could be accomplished by a group of recovered addicts who take that same power they used to “get it in” and use it for something positive. Ultimately, we may never know unless we do something to help them. There are systems in place for detox and treatment, but upon release, people usually go right back to the same environment that fed their issues.

Everything in life takes effort. Even being lazy or listless requires energy. Hate requires energy. The existence of an epidemic penchant toward heroin overdose requires great force. So, the culture we presently “enjoy” is not only a product of our combined effort, it is also sustained by our lack of insight and our refusal to do anything about it. Oftentimes, people don’t want to support a cause or do something that is truly necessary until that blight hits home. I pray that overdose never touches my family or anyone I know. And I believe that love is the answer.

This is where I insert the subtitle of my book:

“58 Words That Release My Potential to Love and Live.”

Words have power. They have the power to enlighten and change minds. Education, knowledge, wisdom. These all come from words.

Specifically, The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His Glory! It’s no wonder to me that Jesus is called the Word because the right word will heal. The right word will set a captive free. The right word will empower someone to come out of depression. The right word will bring a family back together. The right word could stop hate. The right word will change the world, or maybe only change my perception of it. Either way, I will be better by hearing it.

And in the pages of this website and one day in a compilation of pages in a book, we will get to discuss and hear the truth of 58 “Words” from the Bible. If I have lost you, I truly feel the loss. If you can hold on, even if it’s just to argue against what I say, I feel the gain.

One thing that I should make clear: What I write is my perception, my interpretation. I am leaning on faith that God will breathe life into my understanding and my interpretation will be guided by His Spirit.

Drug addicts are only one example, one demographic that needs help. On many levels, we are all like the little boy who is unable to see how much his dad cares for him. We don’t always see the abundance of provision from God (Dad), and many times we only want the thrill of running to the ice cream truck with money in hand to get a tasty, pleasing treat.

Pleasure is pleasant, but it doesn’t satisfy for very long. Pleasure will lie and manipulate until someone is trapped trying to find more. Only the truth satisfies.

St. Francis prayed this beautiful prayer:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much
Seek to be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen

I would love your feedback below in a comment. Ask a question, make a scathing or blasphemous remark, or leave a kind word. It’s up to you.
Regardless, have a blessed day!

Alan

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