Recently, my husband and I visited Biltmore House and Gardens in Asheville, NC.
I’ve been there so many times it feels like returning to a family home. The twists and turns of the approach road spark anticipation and the first glimpse of the house is always a delight.
Once inside, the winter garden captures my attention and holds it. I remember the look and feel of rooms that are currently closed to the public. As I move through the house, the furniture and upholstery, china patterns, nick-knacks, and paintings are as familiar as elements of my own home. Yet each time I return to Biltmore I see new-to-me items, color schemes, or architectural details. These are not things that have been added, rather elements that have been there all along, but I failed to see them.
Many times in life, an event, situation, or person is like a return trip to a familiar location. You’re reminded of something from the past, either good or bad. The most immediate response is to see from the same perspective as before. However, you have the option to observe with renewed vision.
Consider a few things to help you see the familiar with fresh eyes:
A new approach
One of the things I enjoy while at Biltmore is seeing the house from a different area of the grounds than the front of the house. Accomplishing this takes some doing. You have to re-position yourself by walking or driving to a different place on the property. It takes some effort, but the outcome is worth it.
Many times you just need to change your approach to problems and challenges. If you never take the time and make the effort to move beyond viewing a situation head-on, you may miss a perspective that brings new insights.
The staff at Biltmore does an excellent job highlighting various rooms and features of the house with exhibits, floral arrangements, decorations, and musical presentations. These enhance the experience and often draw attentions to elements of the house and grounds that might be overlooked otherwise.
Perhaps some element of your life could also use a different type of presentation. A challenging topic might be more successfully discussed, and less volatile, if presented in a different manner. What could be construed as an accusation could be turned into a question. You might try adorning a request with courtesy. Look for, and cultivate, different ways to present yourself and your ideas and see if you experience enhanced communication.
Yesterday, I got an email reminding me it’s time for my yearly vision exam. When I get new glasses, I realize that although I thought I was seeing clearly, my vision is much improved with an updated prescription. And at times when I attempt to read without my glasses, my perception and patience are greatly diminished. When I finally put on my glasses, and things come into focus, I wonder why I didn’t reach for this readily available aid first instead of opting for squinting and frustration.
Often you don’t choose readily available vision enhancement because it seems easier to see a situation or relationship through the same dirty or weak lens you’ve always had. Now is a good time to accept aids that provide clearer vision. It may involve trying on a few different concepts or adjusting your other senses. You may need to listen more intently instead of hearing what you expect to hear or avoid interpreting based on past experience. Sometimes seeing with renewed vision requires adjusting thoughts and actions as well as hearing and perception. Looking at circumstances and relationships with renewed vision changes your perspective.
From the hushed awe of magnificent architecture and treasures from around the world to breathtaking vistas from the loggia and gardens, seeing Biltmore always provides fresh inspiration. I come away inspired to change something in my own home or yard, spend more time observing the beauty of nature, to focus more on growth in my spiritual walk, or write something prompted by my visit.
Much in life, whether God-created or man-made, is a gift to be appreciated and enjoyed, yet our vision is often dimmed by old wounds and stale perceptions. Take the necessary steps to remove the scales from your eyes, gain a fresh vision, and maintain forward motion.
“Open my eyes so I can see what you show me of your miracle-wonders.” (Psalm 119:18 MSG)
Looking at circumstances and relationships with renewed vision changes your perspective.