Monday, October 5, 2015

The View from the Visitors' Stand

Who in the world ever thought sitting on super cold/aluminum bleachers, enduring the cold autumn wind with your head buried in your jacket’s hood, under a very menacing sky, feeling your fingers literally go numb inside your pockets was fun? I for sure, never did. Where I grew up, 69 degrees was freezing!

However, after last Friday’s away football game, when Dylan, Dan and I experienced the description above just to watch and support Grant’s efforts to be part of something important in the Marching Band, I have to say I can’t consider it “fun” but I can think of it as “enlightening”…no pun intended…get it? “enlightening” … “lightening” … “storm” … mmmkay…

The thing is that sitting on the bleachers at the visitors’ stand represented a bit of a change of perspective. And I, for once, always welcome those since I can always learn a lot when I allow myself to step outside of my often so rigid stances and take the steps to see things from the other side.

As a Christian, I feel so secured in my points of views and opinions that I struggle to let others, who do not share my ideas, share their expressions of theirs. I don’t want to hear what they have to say. I strive to look at things through the lens of Christianity and the way I see it indicates that I need not concerned myself with mistaken and misguided philosophies. Looking at the band perform from the visitors’ stand, however, reminded me of the importance of getting a fresh look from a different perspective once in a while.

I remember the first time sitting in the visitors’ stand. That night right after the band came to the field to perform, Dylan asked me: “why do they sound different? and Why aren’t they looking at us?” “Well,” I said, “that’s because we are the visitors this time and they face the home crowd mostly.” As I sat on those cold bleachers last Friday, looking at the band players’ backs and listening to their distorted and muffled tunes, I began to think about this as an illustration of the difference a “point of view” really makes.

Unbelievers and people who do not dwell within the circles of Christianity do not see things the same way we see them. They see everything as if they were sitting in the visitors stand…they only see the occasional, courtesy nod their way, but they know, they are aware that the whole show is not really performed for them. They, therefore, get a very distorted and muffled version of the performance, as if everyone was standing/dancing/marching with their backs to them...without much care for them.

I don’t know if I’m right here, but the whole thing made me think that too often I am quick to judge and slow to put myself in someone else’s shoes. It is no wonder many unbelievers think Christians, church people, I am not welcoming. I’m not talking about compromising my Christian beliefs to get along and accommodate sin in the name of tolerance. I’m talking about pulling myself out of my comfort zone once in a while to try to understand where those, who don’t like me because of my beliefs, are truly coming from.

I’m not sure this reflection is going to make my experience at the next cold, football game any better; but it will sure be a reminder of my need to be willing to once in a while step out of the home crowd and see what it feels like to be in the visitors’ stands of life.

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