shifting my point of view – Tampa (cruise III)


 The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:17

It’s interesting how you can live somewhere 17 years, move away, and then see the old place in a way you never have before, all because of a visit of just a few hours.

Tampa has always been an exceedingly cool city. The Big Guava sparkles with a multicultural verve that rises out from its natural roots as a Cuban-American/Spanish-American/Italian-American/African-American/Latin-American cultural smorgasbord. When I wrote for the Tampa Tribune’s short-lived West Tampa News, I learned a lot about the city’s rich history, and many of Tampa’s bona fide characters invited me into their offices and homes to share some great stories.

DSC_0095But I never, not once in 17 years, saw the view of the city from a giant ship sailing out from Port Tampa. It’s a view that – when I finally experienced it last week – arrested me, stopped me in my tracks, and made me wonder what else I might have missed before we left.

PERSPECTIVE: Fact is, when we shift our perspective, even just the angle at which we view something, everything can look completely different.

It’s like that with people, too. One day on the cruise I talked with my dad about a book he’s been reading; it’s a biography of Aneurin Bevan, a Welsh Member of Parliament who represented his district with the voice of a radical socialist.

DSC_0143My dad – who was a businessman in the conservative southeast of England – told me he would never have had anything good to say about Bevan. But now, having read the man’s story, and getting to know something of the actual person Aneurin Bevan, my dad said that he could understand where the Welshman was coming from, and found himself more respectful of Bevan’s point of view.

The same man, the same truth, but no longer the same view.

LISTENING: If only we would spend more time listening to one-another than we do trying to demonstrate how right we are? If only we would respond to other people as human beings, brothers and sisters in this struggle to make life work, instead of shutting each other out? If only we would be willing to look at the people we’re convinced we’re so vehemently opposed to from another angle, another perspective, another setting, another pair of shoes, another – maybe theirs – point of view?

DSC_0056We don’t have to all agree – that would be boring and counterproductive. But we could choose to learn to respect the fact that there is room for a wide range of opinion, and thought, and understanding, and interpretation… and even truth.

There’s only one who actually is The Truth – that’s God; and Jesus is The Way, The Truth, and The Life – grace and truth come through Jesus. But we’re not him, are we? It turns out that – at the heart of it all – we’re nothing more, or less, than fellow travelers along The Way.

Peace and blessings on the journey – DEREK

(The following slides show the progression as we left Tampa, finally reaching the Sunshine Skyway at dusk….)





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