I attended a gathering recently, a newcomer to a group of people who have been working hard together for some time. After a policy decision was announced and explained by the decision-maker, the meeting drifted on. But something rankled me about the decision. It seemed unnecessarily narrow.
As the conversation continued around me on other matters, I had a now familiar internal battle about whether to raise my concerns and my suggestion about altering the problematic decision. I mean, who was I to say anything? A newbie, someone who had not invested the abundant time and effort these generous people had put toward the project?
Plus, as a newbie, I might be ignorant of other issues involved. And everyone else had moved forward with the agenda.
When I couldn’t get the point unstuck from my craw, I plunged ahead. Prefacing my comments with a recognition of my limitations and couching my observations as humbly as possible.
I’m still unsure about whether my perspective were correct or wise. Still, I’m glad that I proceeded to voice an opinion I believed in that may have been unwelcome, unpopular or simply overlooked by the others. Because a discussion ensued and the participants seemed to be viewing the situation through a different angle of a prism. To me, this opening up of perspective, of possibility, is essential.
It’s often said that this is the job of the artist: to inspire and challenge people to view things differently or see things they hadn’t before. All I know is that I have found myself in countless situations over the years, the decades, of questioning the “norm,” the assumptions, the conventions, the precedents.
Because I’ve come to appreciate how limiting, how stultifying those walls can be. And, conversely, how essential it is to vitality to continue to expand our sense of possibility. Even with these little moments, maybe especially with these little moments, we each confront every day, it’s important not to be lulled into the complacency and shrinking that attend failing to question.
Only yesterday, a well-meaning person I’d just met asked if my husband and I are retired, no doubt based on my age. What?! Heck, no. Remember what assuming makes you and me?
So, here’s to the chorus of infinite voices, sharing infinite perspectives. It’s what makes this symphony of life so rich, exciting…and full of possibility!
Photo credit: Top-Rich Davis; Bottom-Nikki Carrara