Frank and I have been watching An Idiot Abroad on Netflix. Created by comedian Ricky Gervais, we follow his friend, Karl as he experiences the Seven Wonders of the World. The twist is that Karl is a homebody and is very critical of travel. I have laughed until I got teary; Frank has fallen asleep more often than not. But, it holds his attention enough that we keep coming back.
In the last episode we watched, Karl visits Petra in Jordan. As he’s preparing to go, he makes the observation that (and I paraphrase),
It’s better to live in a hole looking at a palace rather than living in the palace because the view is better.
Because of his comment, Karl spends a night in a cave with a view of the monastery. The next morning, as he is looking at the view, he comments that his point is proven – who would want to look at his cave when they could wake up looking at such impressive architecture.
I’ve been thinking about this twist in perspective. How if we just turn around, our view is so much different. It’s not that it takes a grand move or great effort – it just involves looking the other way.
How often do I focus on the cave I’m looking at – the injustice, all that is wrong with the world, my own small gripes – when I simply need to turn around and see the beautiful palace behind me – the ways in which people are making changes, the distance we’ve come, all my own privilege.
At MOPS last week, we talked about race and reconciliation and what we can do as moms. Sometimes it feels as though I can’t do anything. I get so caught up in playdates and temper tantrums and nap times that I forget I can do something. It may not be big or immediately world changing, but it can change my focus, it can help build foundations for Bea’s and Elle’s worldviews, and it can change the world one person at a time. We talked about the simple act of talking with another mom at the park or of offering to help a struggling family with homework can help change the systemic problems in place. As Sarah Bessey says in her book, Out of Sorts,
Seemingly small acts of faith and justice are still acts of faith and justice.
I struggle with finding that balance between small acts of justice and slacktivism. How can my small acts change the world without simply forgetting about it after I reshare an article on Facebook?
I think it does start with a change in perspective – of looking at the monastery rather than the cave. Of seeing all that has been done before getting bogged down with all that still needs to be done. Of remembering the moms and small acts that were done before me – that the world is changed one person at a time, even though that seems so slow.
So this week, I’m focusing on shifting my perspective. I’m looking for small moments to seize and for ways to model the act of world changing, even if it does happen at the park.
How are you changing the world in small ways? And, would you rather live in a cave with a view of the palace or in a palace with a view of the cave?