This post was written in the spring of 2011 following an accident in the fall of 2010, which put me into a wheel chair followed by months of physical therapy. I’m great now, praise the Lord. Hope you find some encouragement for whatever challenge or situation you find yourself experiencing today.
It’s interesting to me, how quickly one can become so utterly focused on what’s happening in their world, they forget there’s a whole big wide world filled with other people, much like them, making their way through life. We become consumed on our life and our circumstances; we develop “tunnel vision perspective”. We see glimpses of life outside the tunnel, but in reality we have nary a clue to life’s details. We may venture out of the tunnel, yet, unless we are aware, without warning, the thing or things which made the tunnel our home soon draw us back inside.
Life in the tunnel can be brought about by both good and bad events. Events like a life-changing medical diagnosis, an unhappy marriage, death of a friend or loved one, injury or chronic illness; a new marriage, the birth of a child, a long-awaited job, moving to a new location, etc. Any event in our life which changes our day-to-day living may bring about life in the tunnel leading to “tunnel vision perspective”.
Tunnel perspective hinders our seeing alternatives to situations and often leaves us with a sense of hopelessness. A feeling of being unloved and not needed anymore; useless. We’re unable to see others who need what we have to offer. Using my current situation let me give you an example. If you’ve read any of my previous blogs, you know an event in my life put me in a wheelchair (bending down to feed the cat, now that is some event! But, what else do you call it?) Praise God, life in the wheelchair has been temporary. Due to my injury I became focused on me? Will I get better? Will I always have to endure this pain? Will I need surgery? How will I get better? Will I walk again, etc., etc., etc. While I struggle with these questions and decisions life is happening outside my home.
For instance, a friend’s husband was diagnosed with ALS a few short years ago. I knew he was not doing well before my injury. Not doing well—-is now an understatement. As I write they are deciding if he will do things which might lengthen his life, only briefly, or let the disease take its course; meaning certain death leaving a young wife and children without their beloved husband and daddy? I can only imagine their struggle. Another friend had a thyroid biopsy because nodules, hidden behind other nodules, were discovered. Again, the results might be life-altering. Another’s husband had a disease, previously in remission, return with a vengeance. He has only days or a few weeks left. All of this and more has been happening outside my home; yet, I was unaware living inside my tunnel, focused on me, wondering why my friends were distant.
Life focused outside our tunnel, focused on others, affords us the opportunity to see that so-and-so could use a phone call of encouragement, or see a friend struggling with a newly diagnosed medical condition. Looking beyond our tunnel, we notice someone could use a meal or two; grocery shopping done, a day of respite from rambunctious children, money to help with auto repairs; a phone call, a prayer or a note of encouragement. The list is endless. When we’re in the tunnel, our perspective is clouded by our pain, our struggles and life not functioning as it could. The point… yes, my situation is challenging and difficult. Yes, it called for changes and my giving up or rearranging daily activities. Regardless, I don’t need to live life with “tunnel vision perspective”. There are things I’m capable of doing which go beyond my circumstances. Since movement’s limited, I can call and connect with others. I can email while sitting. I can send notes; nothing wrong with my writing hand. Options are available; I don’t need to stay self-focused in the tunnel, I can have others-centered perspective.
Ah, I hear you saying, “Yes, but you don’t know my circumstance”. Let me give you one more example. I knew a gal, who has since gone home to be with the Lord, who could not get around without help; she was housebound. She desired to help others in her church, but what? A light-bulb moment… she could contact folks by telephone! My friend chose to not live life in the tunnel. She called the pastor, shared her vision and received a phone listing of all the people who attended. Every day, one person, one family at a time, my friend called asking the question, “How may I pray for you today?” then she prayed. If they shared a need the church might meet, she contacted the church and shared the information. My friend could have lived life with tunnel perspective; she had every reason too! But, instead she looked at what she could do to reach out to others; and did it! She made a difference in her community, in her church, and in the lives of countless people. She made a difference for Christ! She did it one phone call at a time! And just in case you’re wondering……. the church had over 3,000 members.
I desire to make a difference in the lives of others for God. I don’t know if I’ll ever accomplish my goal. I do know I won’t accomplish it having “tunnel vision perspective”; living life tucked away focused on me. Getting out of the tunnel isn’t always easy. Changing my perspective is up to me. Once I make the choice, God will help. First, I must choose!
Until next time,
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 NKJV