Bob Tamasy: Perspective Makes All The Difference

Monday, August 11, 2014 - by Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy

Recently I heard about a man visiting New York City for the first time. The mass of people walking down the sidewalks in front of the towering buildings, and the cars and taxicabs jostling for position on the streets, seemed chaotic and confusing. “How can anyone get anywhere, or get anything done, in this place?” he wondered.

Then a friend invited him to go up the historic Empire State Building and view Manhattan from the 86th and 102nd floor observatories. From those vantage points the tourist gained a very different perspective of the activity below. Traffic seemed to be moving in an orderly, controlled manner and people (despite appearing no bigger than fleas) were following their respective courses unimpeded by the surrounding crowds.

Over and over I’ve realized the view from above makes things look strikingly different, as I discovered years ago while visiting the picturesque city of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany. Below, shops seemed quaint and pleasant. But from atop the courthouse in the centrum, this community sometimes called the most photographed city in Europe took on a much greater scope and more impressive grandeur.

Life has a way of being that way, too. When we’re caught up in the muck and mire of everyday living, life often seems to be lacking any sense of order or purpose. And when we encounter inevitable adversities – family issues, work challenges, health problems, financial struggles and unexpected calamities – we become convinced that pointless chaos reigns.

At such times it helps to take a step back, if possible, to gain a better perspective. Sometimes that “step back” is achievable only with the passing of time. But often we discover the turmoil we are enduring – or have endured – had “rhyme and reason” we couldn’t comprehend at the time.

A job we thought perfectly suited for, only to see it offered to someone else. The baby arrives with problems requiring the little one to remain in neo-natal intensive care for several weeks. The air conditioner quits working, right in the most dogged days of summer. The annual checkup with the physician reveals a condition you didn’t suspect, demanding immediate attention. And so it goes.

In the moment, these crises seem overwhelming. They suddenly thrust your life into turbulence, like a ship wandering into the midst of a hurricane. How do we keep from sinking?

For people of faith, the response is usually a mixture of prayer, perseverance – and panic. Why don’t disasters give advance warning, put themselves on our calendars weeks in advance so we can adequately prepare?

Most times these crises do come to an conclusion and then – and only then – we might be able to get the “view from above,” perspective that was lacking as the storm was swirling around us.

Someone once put it this way: It’s like we’re the ground troops during a battle, while God is flying a helicopter, viewing and guiding the conflict from above.

We’ve heard it said so many times, it’s seems trite, a cliché. But it’s true just the same: Romans 8:28 states, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

In the midst of whatever trial we’re facing, all we can see is NOW, the immediate. The what’s and why’s of things happening are lost to us since we’re too busy reacting to whatever circumstances present themselves at that instant. But God has the overhead view, the Empire State Building vista, where believe it or not, things aren’t as random and chaotic as they seem.

As He promises in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” The Lord is saying He understands we can’t make sense of hardships and pain we’re currently experiencing, but He’s working and using them for our ultimate good.

The next time you encounter a situation that seems beyond your capacity to handle, think of yourself as standing on 5th Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. All around you are throngs of people, cars and taxis. Craziness seems to reign. Then envision yourself transported atop the Empire State Building, gazing down at the now almost serene-looking scene you just left. That’s God’s perspective, the one that matters.

* * * 

Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, a former newspaper editor and magazine editor. He is presently vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit focused on mentoring and coaching business and professional leaders. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and has authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” “Business at Its Best,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. He also posts regularly on two blogs, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com, and www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com. He can be emailed at btamasy@comcast.net.

"Loving, Accepting, And Forgiving Will Work" Series Continues Sunday At Middle Valley COG

Middle Valley Church of God announces that Pastor Mitch McClure will speak on the topic,"There Are Those Who Are Tough To Love"  in the 10:30 a.m. service on Sunday.  This is part of a new sermon series titled 'Loving, Accepting, And Forgiving Will Work.'  This series of sermons will focus on the need of all Christians to examine relationships and discover ways in ... (click for more)

Joint Ash Wednesday Service

Washington Hills United Methodist Church will host this year's joint Ash Wednesday service with Rev. Dr. Elston McLain preaching and his Stanley Memorial choir providing the music.     There will be a light repast following the service.  The service begins at 6 p.m. Wednesday at 6216 Hadley Dr.   All are invited and welcome. (click for more)

Firefighters Stop Fire At Local IHOP Restaurant

Chattanooga firefighters did not have far to go when fire broke out at the IHOP on Highway 153 in Hixson around  9 a.m.  on Friday. Battalion Chief Don Bowman and firefighters with Quint 16 had just enjoyed a nice breakfast there while having a morning staff meeting. When the firefighters returned to their fire truck and were getting ready to drive off, one of the firefighters ... (click for more)

City Councilman Chris Anderson Gearing Up For Election A Year Away

City Councilman Chris Anderson is already gearing up for the next city election, though it is over a year away. In the financial disclosures due Feb. 1, he reported receiving $24,165 for the reporting period from July 16, 2015 to Jan. 16. He spent $4,887 during that period. Councilman Yusuf Hakeem took in $11,110 during the period. Councilman Russell Gilbert reported ... (click for more)

Black History Month Hero - Theodore McGraw (Kidd) AKA "Pongee"

I grew up in "Old St. Elmo" on 39th Street behind the Incline. As a child I remember my older brother "Pongee" as being my hero. This month of February being Black History Month, I cannot think of a better person to be honored than my late older brother, Theodore McGraw (Kidd) aka "Pongee" of St. Elmo (Gamble Town). Growing up without my father, Theodore was always available ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: ‘Chatt2.org’ Needs You Now

A diverse yet powerful panel of community leaders in Nashville delivered a letter to the Metro Nashville Board of Education last week. It was signed by some top men and women who represent a wide-ranking cross section of Tennessee’s largest city and includes education, business, religious and diversity superstars. You need to understand the urgency behind the letter. Davidson County ... (click for more)