“… and she loved a boy very, very much– even more than she loved herself.”
Perspective, as cliche as it sounds, can drastically affect a situation. It can happen over seconds, minutes, years or a lifetime. It can shift back and forth, seemingly non-commital. Sometimes things appear half-empty, rude, wrong and to others the same may be full of life, engaging, inspirational or right. It’s what makes us all different. It’s what makes us sometimes connect. Sadly, it’s also what tears us apart, not only on interpersonal levels, but as whole societies.
Recently, someone brought up the story of “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein, saying it was a beautiful story of dedication and selflessness. This reminded me that Steve had given my very own copy. I went home, opened it up and out fell the card below. I remember when Steve gave me this book early on in our dating. Of course, I had known it as a child. But, it had always seemed like a story of destitute, of abandonment, and of abuse. But, as always, Steve had a positive viewpoint. How the hell did he always do that in situations. He saw it as one of dedication, inspiration, care and reality. A story of selfless love. Now in retrospect, I have a deeper understanding of his perspective. Perhaps, I was the tree at times and he the boy. At other times, the roles would be reversed. The situation would shift back and forth and with this, so would the way we both viewed it. It was unconditional love. It was unconditional perspective.
The results from a shift in my perspective have been evident, even more so, over the past four years. And now, over the past six months, my perspective has again shifted. Yes, it’s already been six months since we all lost Steve. I’ve gone through a plethora of emotional changes. One moment, I can accept things, knowing that we are all going to die and it’s “ok”. The next, I can be distraught and realize that Steve was young. Not the youngest to ever pass, but yet still so youthful and full of life even until his last days. This makes me sad. It makes me mad. Sometimes, it makes me distraught. But at the end of all, I know I was so very lucky to have learned about love, forgiveness, acceptance and perspective.
My perspective shifts on other people’s problems as well. Part of me wants to listen, to be fair. As Steve used to say and believe, it’s all relative. I truly believe this as well, but sometimes my perspective changes and I want to say “you’re lucky you don’t have cancer” or “you have no idea how shitty your life could really be”, but I don’t. I remember Steve’s words and beliefs and I put it all into a similar perspective. I remember my pre-cancer perspective and know that I had no idea of others during my innocence. Consequently, this allows me to have a perspective of appreciation and celebration of every individual, their situation and most importantly their perspective. Because just when you think you’re having a shitty day, I bet there is someone that can one up you.
In Steve’s short life, so many have been changed directly and indirectly. How do I describe the admiration and respect for Steve? It’s simply done through his very own perspective:
- This man brought humor, where there was deep sadness.
- This man brought strength, where there was fear.
- This man brought compassion to others, where it should have been reflected on him.
- This man brought self acceptance, when there was weakness.
- This man brought acceptance for others, when he was hurt.
I remember a man who has forever changed my perspective and many others. A man that, for as cheesy as it may it sound, knew that it’s not the years in your life, but the life in your years. Proof of this is in the fact that I will be accepting a Master of Arts from Pepperdine University on his behalf this April 27, 2013 (if you’d like to attend, please email me).
With an unconditional perspective there comes peace, acceptance, calmness in oneself and calmness with others. I now know that it a slight perspective change can make or break not only a precise second, but an entire life. And, if anyone can be an example of that, Stephen Dickter was and still is.
Lucky, we are.