The View From Here

view from here
Ralph Waldo Emerson once advised to never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting.
 My husband recently took a beautiful picture of our daughter playing out in the backyard. She was kneeling down in some taller than usual (needing to be cut) weeds, and the photo focused only on the blades in between her fingers. She paid no attention to the camera. Over the past few months she has grown increasingly curious about the outdoors, touching every leaf and flower within her reach and starting a rock collection from the front garden. I loved that her curiosity came across in this photo. That’s how I saw it.
Another person’s view, well-meaning I’m sure, pointed out the potential for snakes in those weeds. The weeds in my backyard. I understand that some may consider Zachary the “country,” but our house is in a subdivision. That small patch of weeds was maybe a little less than a foot high. I realize there COULD be a snake there, but that’s not the point.
Thinking more about these drastically different perspectives, two things are brought to my mind.

1. My focus was on the beauty. Being a typical toddler, she was experiencing things for the first time. It was almost like I was seeing through her eyes. I think about her recent interest in the outdoors and that maybe she’ll enjoy more nature activities as she gets older. Maybe she’ll want to be a botanist, agriculturist, veterinarian … ok I’m getting ahead of myself but you know that’s how moms’ minds work. Her personality is blooming, and it’s fun to watch. The opposite focus here is on the potential danger. This can also be where our minds shift as parents. All around us are things that could cause our children harm, some seen and others not. It can be a constant back and forth between these two, but these perspectives cannot really co-exist successfully. It seems one will always win out.

2. Only one of us sees the whole picture. Many times our perspective is shaped by what we don’t see. The things that could happen. Although I didn’t take the picture myself, it is my backyard so I recognized exactly where she was sitting. Also, the angle is lower to the ground so the weeds appear higher and you feel like you’re on her level. The other person can only see what’s in the frame. The “what if” that may be lurking right around the corner. When we focus only on the possible dangers, we miss the beauty in people, things and opportunities. I’m not saying don’t be cautious and aware, but realize that many things are beyond our control and may not even come to pass. It can be a waste of time to focus on them.

Both the fear of potential danger and beauty of life are present in almost every circumstance. With kids, the opportunities to fear can amount to a lot. I want to choose to see the good, the beauty … as many times as I can.

And maybe one day when I’m low on patience, my view will be the opposite. I may only see the fear of uncertainty. I hope someone else around me will see the beauty. I pray that they would point it out to me in that moment.

Jenny is originally from Kenner, LA, and considers herself a New Orleans girl at heart. She moved to Pineville in 2004 to attend college where she met her funny and always entertaining husband Brandon. Together they relocated to Baton Rouge almost 10 years ago and married in 2008. They added their joyful daughter Salem to the crew in April 2014, blue-eyed son Declan in July 2015, and baby Liesel in 2019 and now live in Zachary. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communication/Journalism from LSU and has previously done some freelance writing. She now works full-time for the State of Louisiana. She and her family enjoy spending time together, making each other laugh and being a part of their church community. She loves wandering around Target, drinking coffee, watching HGTV, having people over and making any kind of craft.

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