Years ago a mentor of mine emphasized a motto about perspective. He said "Perspective is reality". He said it and meant that each person's perspective is their reality.
I had a little lesson in perspective today.
I consider myself a handicap aware person. I am conscious of those that are handicap and I often notice when handicap amenities are not what they should be. My dad suffered a stroke almost 7 years ago. He has paralysis on his left side of his body. His journey through stroke recovery and survival has had a tremendous affect on me. That said, I get really frustrated when I see people use handicap parking places when they don't need them. It irritates me. I usually give the people the "evil eye" and grumble to myself about how people can be so inconsiderate.
Today, in between soccer games, we took the kids to McDonalds. I was driving and my dad was in the passenger seat. Naturally we parked in the handicap spot. His handicap tag was in clear view hanging from my rear-view mirror.
After we ate, we let the kids play. One of us needed to run to the house to pick up cleats and a uniform for the next boys' game. I volunteered to make the quick trip.
I walked briskly out to my car. As I got in, I looked up to see a group standing on the sidewalk giving me the evil eye. I wanted to explain. I felt like saying- 'hey, my dad's inside'. It was crazy. From their perspective, I was abusing the handicap parking tag sign. I drove away, slightly amused at the judgement I received. When I came back I again, I parked in the handicap parking place. That would be the easiest place for my dad to get back in the car. Sure enough, there were different people around but they gave me the same looks of disapproval.
Maybe I imagined it. Maybe, I didn't. Either way, it was a nice reminder that I don't have the perspective of other people. I often make quick judgments based on the limited knowledge I have.
My perspective is my reality. I cannot account for what I don't know. But, I can be more willing to accept that I don't know the full story.