eye to eye

by Kristen

I wore heels to work today, and the office manager wore flats. Coming around a corner at the same time we ended up nose to nose. She has beautiful eyes, but it caught me off guard to see them so close to mine.

I’m not accustomed to being at eye level with other adults. The viewpoint throws me off.

I see the world a certain way, and I’m prone to forget there are other perspectives. At 5′ 1″ I’m never going to see what my 6′ 5″ uncle sees when he walks in a room. I’m never going to live life as a teen mother or a middle-aged father or an only child. I probably won’t ever experience the view as a matriarch or a painter or an immigrant or a CEO or a lead pastor or a tightrope walker. I can only imagine what a room full of strangers looks like to an extrovert.

That doesn’t negate my view. My view is valuable, but it is limited.

Like everyone else’s.

Sometimes my vantage point doesn’t seem to be factored in . . . but how would anyone else know what I see? How would a mom multiple times over know how a childless woman feels when she holds a baby? How would a social butterfly know what a wallflower notices from the party’s periphery? How would the elders of the church know what Sunday looks like for a single woman in her thirties or a widow in her eighties?

I can put on heels and experience a moderately taller view of the world. It’s harder to put on someone else’s reality and see life from an unfamiliar angle. Yet when I remember no one else has my exact frame of reference, it’s a little bit easier to remember I’m not living their lives and seeing what they see either. Our blind spots overlap.

But maybe we can appreciate those eye-to-eye moments when we hit the corner at the same time and catch a glimpse of life at someone else’s eye level.

 

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