That question is a central issue in Progenitor, and in fact throughout The Earthside Trilogy. The protagonist, Kalea Kerner, has quietly taken on the task of helping her aunt care for her uncle with dementia while her parents and cousins are living out of state while pursuing their own lives and goals. Nobody worries about it, either. They’re satisfied with Kalea serving this role, until the unexpected happens and Uncle Carson rises from his deathbed, heals Kalea’s broken foot, and starts a chain of unbelievable events. Then suddenly, they aren’t so busy anymore and everybody wants to know what’s been happening on the family estate back in South Carolina. One thing that was as interesting to write as it was to read was the change in perspective as the viewpoint shifted from Kalea to her cousin, Annaliese. I wrote the book, and even I was amazed at how they saw the same events in a completely different light.
One glaring truth that hit me in writing this book was the value on perspective, and especially how some peoples’ perspectives were more accepted than others. It seemed that proximity to the situation lent more credibility to opinion, and yet it was the ones on the periphery of situations that usually had a clearer view on “the big picture.” The ones one step removed weren’t as driven by emotion, and as such were able to see things in a different light. And yet, this perspective still wasn’t valued, until the loved ones started dying again, and the witnesses to their resurrection started doing strange things that brought unwanted attention on themselves. There was still a degree of selfishness there, until the very end when it became clear that something bigger was upon them and now they were powerless to stop it, reverse it, or do anything but deal with what they had chosen not to see coming directly at them for six months – and poorly equipped to do so, because their focus had been in the wrong place the whole time.
That’s fiction. Now, let’s take this to reality and shine the spotlight on that pink elephant in the room, shall we?
The simple truth is that we like some people better than others, and as such, we’re more inclined to value their perspective more. For all the talk of fairness and equality, deep down we all know that this is a lie. All people aren’t created equal, and we don’t regard them as such. Want proof? Ok, when was the last time you took advice from somebody you don’t like? When something that somebody you loathe said something that really made you stop and think about your perspective? When a person you wouldn’t miss if they fell off the edge of the world did something so amazing and wonderful that it shifted your paradigm and inspired you to change and become a better person?
I didn’t think so.
Even closer to our inner circle, we still don’t value perspective of others equally. There are people that we get so used to being there that we accept them like a piece of furniture: be there, serve your function, but do it silently. I think most people in their 20’s – 50’s are regarded as such outside of their homes (and sometimes, perhaps even within those sacred walls). Our world puts more value on function and usefulness than it does on relationships, and most of us take the people around us for granted until they find better opportunities (or just walk away)and leave us in a pickle. Many people care more about what you can do for them than they actually care for you as a person. It reminds me of the time a colleague came up to me about ten years ago and said “any one of us could drop dead, and people would walk over us and ask ‘who’s going to do the work now?’”
To be fair, there’s no way you can be friends with everybody, and I’m certainly not saying you have to like and listen to everything that everybody says. Nobody has the time or energy for that and in fact, you shouldn’t. That’s what discernment is all about. There is a lot of nonsense out there, as well as stuff that doesn’t apply to us. But what I am saying is that it takes zero time, effort, or mental energy to be respectful of others, and to realize that their perspective is as valuable as your own. It doesn’t mean you have to agree with it, or that it’s right. It may be outright nonsense. But at least you have to know that this is their reality, and that’s the only way they’re capable of receiving it.
Mind you, both Progenitor and this entry aren’t intended to be a “shame on you” thing. Rather, I hope that readers will be inspired to consider whose perspective they value and who they routinely dismiss, and to search within themselves for the reasons why they made these distinctions. It’s a big world out there, and perspective isn’t a one size fits all thing. Others can and do see things that we don’t, and we’d be wise to be open to a bigger picture. Plus, you never know what might matter (or even save your life) in the future. As I see on social media all the time, it takes zero time, education, and intelligence to be a decent human being.
That’s all today. Take care, and have a great rest of the week.