God's eye view

Towards the end of his life, when my 83-year-old grandfather was wheelchair-bound, he lived with our family. What I remember most about that time is his quiet presence in an already loud and lively household of 12. When he wasn’t listening to the news or a radio talk show, he would roll himself to a window or out into the backyard to watch his grandkids and their neighborhood friends at play. Their activity seemed to give him more pleasure than anything else.


Mostly, the children didn’t notice this witness to their lives, so Grandpa got a God’s eye view of them. He took it all in with a loving acceptance of their emerging humanity. Petty fights about who was the best batter or could run the fastest. Acts of kindness and inclusion. Acts of meanness and exclusion. He watched it all without judgment. Just like God watches us. And sometimes, when Grandpa witnessed some of the children’s silly antics, he laughed loudly.


I recently heard a speaker talk about how he gave God a reason to laugh loudly at him:


“Impatience with other people is one of my principal failings. Following a slow car in a no-passing lane, or waiting in a restaurant for the check, drives me to distraction. Before I give God a chance to slow me down, I explode, and that’s what I call being quicker than God. That repeated experience gave me an idea. I thought if I could look down on these events from God’s point of view, I might better control my feelings and behavior. I tried it, and when I encountered the next slow driver, I levitated and looked down on the other car and upon myself. I saw an elderly couple driving along, happily chatting about their grandchildren. I was following them—red-faced and bug-eyed—with no schedule to meet. I looked so silly that I dropped back into reality and slowed down. Seeing things from God’s point of view helps me be more patient.”


What do you think? Could looking at yourself from God’s point of view help you? It helps me when I do it. I think about how God, like Grandpa, looks at us with a loving acceptance, no matter what we do.


So that’s where I begin when I look at myself from a God’s eye view—with loving acceptance of who I am, despite my shortcomings. Then I look for my silly antics that might give God a good laugh, hoping that perhaps seeing them will help make me kinder, less judgmental, and more loving—to others and myself.


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