I shot her a questioning look, which wasn't much different than the squinty look I already was wearing.
"Don't wrinkle your nose when you squint."
"What?" I asked, my nose still wrinkled.
"Squint with your eyes, not your nose."
I'll never forget that wise advice. I can just imagine the wrinkle lines I would have today if I had kept squinting with my nose.
|Me and my shades.|
One pair of my sunglasses makes everything I look at a little bluish. Another pair turns everything sepia, like the old western photo that we posed for when we were visiting the Black Hills and we weren't supposed to smile.
Adjusting to the different colors with each different pair of sunglasses reminds me of the idiomatic rose colored glasses worn by the eternally optimistic. It reminds me of how everything we see is seen through our own lenses. We're seeing the same thing that other people see, we just have different lenses on.
What would it look like in my communication if I realized that the misunderstanding might simply be caused by looking through different lenses. What if I tried to see things through the other person's lens? What life experiences have they had that might make them see things a little differently than me? Would I be more compassionate, more understanding, more gracious? More loving?
What if our lenses were attitudes? What would it look like if I chose to see things through a thankfulness lens? What if "I'm so sad that I had to move away from there" became "I'm so grateful that I had the opportunity to live there"? What if I found something, anything, to be thankful for in the middle of a bout of depression, even if it were just "I'm thankful for Your presence, God, because although I can't feel it right now, I know it's there."
In Psalm 50:23 God says, "he who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God." Could it be that my sacrificial thanks -- when I decide to find something to be thankful for even when I don't feel like it -- actually prepares the way for God to save? To save me from my anger? To save others?
Seeing things through a lens of thankfulness transforms the way I see things, the way I think about things, the way I respond when things happen. The apostle Paul writes that we really don't need to be anxious about anything. Instead, he says, we need to be thankful as we pray and seek God regarding that thing. When we do that, God will give us a peace about the situation that is so amazing it can't be explained (Phil 4:6-7). That's what thankfulness lenses can do.
We used to take college baseball players to Alfred, New York to play on a team there in the New York Collegiate Baseball League. One of the players ordered a pair of Oakley sunglasses with yellow lenses. "Check this out," he said to me. "When it's cloudy out, these lenses make it look brighter." I tried them on and sure enough, everything was bright yellow, even on that dark, cloudy day.
That's what thankfulness lenses can do. They make cloudy days sunny.