Perception – per·cep·tion /pərˈsep SHən/ n. The ability to see, hear or become aware of something through the senses.
This PSA has been niggling in the back of my head since January 27, the Sunday when the mass readings were from St. Paul, 1 Corinthians 12:12-30. This is the passage about how all parts of the body are part of the whole. Now St. Paul was teaching a lesson about the body of the church, but the more I pondered, the more I was seeing the physical human body. Thank you St. Paul for the graphics on eyes, ears hands and feet. I kept coming back to perception, specifically my own perception of my body, and how it can sometimes be skewed so far from center because I’m focusing on a single part and not on the whole.
I cannot tell you how many times I have heard girlfriends say things like “my stomach is flabby” or “my butt is so huge”. “If only my nose was straight.” “I wish I had a bigger-smaller-perkier bustline.” I look at my friends and see beautiful women who are strong, smart and capable. Why don’t they see what I see? Skewed perception because they are giving their full attention to a single part of their physical selves, whereas I see them as whole.
And it’s not just physical perception, its mental perception as well. We often judge ourselves as wives and mothers, and get caught up focusing on the one small thing in a month of Tuesdays that doesn’t go the way we expect, instead of looking at our lives as a beautiful whole. I am especially good at this, and it came to light in a very ugly way over the past two months.
I got laid off from my job. My company has been struggling for several years with falling sales, revenues and work backlogs. I, as the most senior non-owner engineer in the firm (who also happens to have a working husband) was in a vulnerable position, and I’d known for a while that my time was limited. When the blow finally came, I was devastated. Honestly, I spent many weeks as a sobbing, blubbering mess. Even when the interview invitations and job offers were coming in, all I could see was bleakness, all I could think about was that I wasn’t good enough to keep. I was so focused on this one small moment of my life that I was blinded to the wonderfulness of the rest of it!
It’s taken many hours of prayer and reflection to come back to seeing how grand life is, how anchoring faith is. The most important lesson I’ve learned is that the entire tapestry of my life, woven with the fibers of my family and friends, embroidered with threads of love and framed with God’s Grace is a bazillion times more precious than any single tangled moment.
That must be how God sees us.
Keep the Faith.
Next Time: Where Mom Goes the Family Follows
P.S. – yes, I have a new job. :) The kids can stay in school and we aren’t going to starve.
Angela Pea lives in Texas and has been married to Mr. Pea for 27 years. She has two adult daughters, Cherry Ames, who is almost finished with nursing school, and Princess Pea, who resides in Aggieland and is studying to be an orthodontist. Her two teenage sons, The Architect and DirtBike, still live at home, where they mostly eat everything in sight and build bicycles from random parts. She is a practicing civil engineer, occasional college instructor, random knitter, beginner mountain biker, and a secret shoe lover. Angela blogs at Keeping the Faith.