Several years ago, Karen and I were traveling through OK and spent the night in the town of Guthrie, just off the interstate north of Oklahoma City. On the morning of our departure we decided to stroll through town, and in so doing, we came across a shop that caught our attention. It was titled, The National Lighter Museum, and as you would expect, it was just as advertised. It was the largest collection of lighters that you could possibly imagine, of all shapes, sizes, colors and brands. We decided to step inside.
The curator greeted us and could detect from the look on our face that we were first time visitors, so he gave us what seemed to be his standard welcome and introduction. I made the mistake by inquiring how long it took to collect so many cigarette lighters. “No, No, No,” he chided. “These are not cigarette lighters. I’ve never smoked a day in my life.”
“These are fire starters.”
He proceeded to tell us of his fascination, not with cigarettes or smoking, but of how man has figured out how to pass on the ability to make fire, something we take for granted today, but many years ago, was a critical survival skill. He showed us a demonstration of a flint and wick that Civil War soldiers used to make fire. A few clicks of the stone and a blow on the wick and in ten seconds he had a glow that was fanned into flame. We were captured by his passion. We stayed an hour and a half listening in amazement.
This was an example of perspective, much like the old “glass half full or half empty” adage, it became all about what you see. Initially I saw a goofy collection of novelty cigarette lighters, and yet I was invited into to another man’s fascination with fire and how it is created. He changed my perspective. And it was his passion and interest that helped make the exchange.
I believe this is how the world will change. It will become better because a handful of people that seem crazy ultimately convince others of what they see, and that what they see is good. When Karen complains about her port under her skin, I remind her that instead of a bump below her neck, I see an object of healing. And of her scar from surgery, I see a marker reminding me of the miracle of modern medicine that enabled a destructive cancer to be excised and allow me more days with my life companion.
Sometimes all it takes to change is having a change of perspective. All the right components are there. It just depends on if we can see them or not. Thorns among roses or roses among thorns?
What will you see today?