This is my daughter’s treasure box.
My three-year-old’s preschool teacher likes to call her a collector. Every time I take my sweet girl outside to play, she picks something up from the ground—a pinecone, a single stone (among all the other stones on the ground) that she has labeled as beautiful, a dropped advertisement that she can’t even read yet, tangled ribbon with a shriveled balloon at the end. She so often doesn’t want to throw her rocks back on the pile or give up the garbage to the trash bin, I finally gave her a treasure box and told her she could keep all her treasures inside it. She had to leave the box in the entryway of the house but could take the box with her whenever we went outside to play.
I’m waiting for the day when she will recognize these random bits and pieces that happen to catch her eye as garbage, but it’s been about a year now. Even during the cold winter days, she would go out into the entryway to re-visit the items in her treasure box.
Perspective is everything.
It doesn’t matter what image we look at, each one of us—shaped by our unique background—will see the same item in a different way.
Today was the first time I had been on twitter for over a week, and it just happened that at the very top of my feed was this video. You can view the link if you want to, but I’ll describe to you the relevant information in the following paragraphs. You can’t get a picture out of your mind once you put it in, and this video contains disturbing images of car-pedestrian accidents and then bystanders walking past a broken body on the pavement.
The title of the video is “Humanity Shines in Chinese Horror Accident.”
I guess what I was hoping for when I watched the video was the part about humanity shining, but all I could think about after watching it was the horror part. And it’s been haunting me all day long. And now, as I so often find when I am confused—I’m staring at a computer screen into late hours of the night, trying to string words together that will sort it all out in my head.
The video starts off with footage of a car-pedestrian accident here in China. A woman is run over and disappears underneath the wheels. The news anchor describes the footage as shocking, but then says that “almost as shocking is what happens next”—people coming to help her.
She explains the willingness of others to help is a “breath of fresh air” because there is a dark saying in China that it is “better to kill than to injure” and that “motorists who drive into pedestrians have been known to reverse back and run over the victims again, making sure they are dead so that they don’t have to pay a lifetime of medical care.”
The news anchor explains that the monetary costs for motorists responsible for accidents is often less if the victim dies than if they are disabled because there are no medical bills to pay for a death. She also explains that good samaritans have been blamed for accidents and forced to pay, so bystanders often don’t bother to help a victim who is harmed in an accident. To prove this point (and this is the most disturbing part), the video shows footage of a van running over a toddler, leaving the scene, and then another citizen walking past her body on the pavement without even a glance, as if she—a child in desperate need of help—were nothing more than a dead, run-over cat.
The news anchor hailed the opening scene (the bystanders running to the woman’s aid)—as humanity shining. Things were changing, she said. Finally society was learning that life matters more than monetary fines, or fear of reprisal, or running away from shame.
I’m not denying that this change is a good thing.
But when I finished watching the video, my mind was not glorifying humanity. I was aching for that little girl in the street. I wanted to grab the driver and the man who walked by and shake them and ask, “Why could you not see the value of that little girl? Why wouldn’t you help her?”
We all perceive differently. We all have different backgrounds and faiths and experiences and cultures. We’ll never see the same object (or scene or person) from the same viewpoint as another.
For me, there is so much senselessness in the world. There is so much that goes against logic, that my filter—my lens—the only way I can make sense of it all is to think of Christ and understand that I have a God who, on the cross, simultaneously expresses justice and mercy—two opposite sides of goodness—to the fullest and most complete degree.
And until Christ makes everything right again with his perfect, all-knowing balance of justice and mercy, I will continue to look for the goodness and beauty in a fallen world. I’ll try to see every person (even the driver and the bystander) as Christ sees them—as one to be loved and treasured and valued beyond measure. I’ll try to help and encourage and challenge my friends in ways that will help them grow. I’ll try to be a little bit of light in a very dark and confusing world.
I don’t have to understand everything. I just need to trust. And love. And hope. And serve. And offer grace in the same way that it has been offered to me.
And hope that it makes a difference.
(This post was written in response to The Daily Post’s Discover Challenge–Perspective.)