Perspective changes everything. Perspective shapes what we understand; what we even see.
We learned this lesson one night in Taipei, Taiwan in 1995. We had lived there since 1992, and had finished two full years of language study.
We were starting a new house church in our apartment, and were blessed to have a Chinese friend and her two children as a part of that new work. The only problem was she lived 45 minutes across town from us, and though she and the children could get to our apartment readily enough, we would drive her home across the city.
Despite the distance, we had a blast every Friday night as we drove them home. We would laugh, sing crazy songs in Mandarin and English, and just have a good time.
One night as we were almost to her home, we saw a street vendor with a small truck and a loud speaker loudly telling people in the residential community what he was selling, which was some kind of Chinese snack food. It was 11PM. My wife and I were just dumbfounded, cause this was LOUD.
We asked our friend Victoria what people in the neighborhood would think about all that noise. We told her that if someone tried making that kind of noise in a residential neighborhood in Texas they would find the police showing up in short order.
We asked her: ”What will people that live here think about this guy with all that noise?” What she said just floored us.
“They will think: Hey, I’m hungry, lets go down and get something to eat!”, she said.
We were speechless.
Perspective is EVERYTHING.
From our American perspective, all that noise was bothersome at the least. But to Victoria, it was a great opportunity to get something to eat!
We expected a residential neighborhood to be quiet. She expected it to be convenient.
Have you ever had a similar “ah-ha” moment? A time when someone’s perspective jumped out and became clear for you?