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Seeing a Problem from a Different Perspective

How a spiritual approach can help you figure a way out of a tight spot.

Child stuck behind fence.

I went for a stroll with a couple of friends in a different part of town here in New York City, and we passed a playground that sparked a memory of long ago. It was a big playground, surrounded by tall iron fencing with bars about 6” apart. Shorter fences delineated the various play areas. Years ago, I’d headed off to push baby John in a swing, and my husband watched Elizabeth, who was about three.

After a while I noticed a crowd of adults near one of the fences, talking animatedly. I took the baby out of his swing and drew near. I saw my daughter was trapped with her head on one side of a fence, and her body on the other. The adults were urging her to turn her head one way or another to slip it back through. No matter what she did, her head didn’t fit. She was stuck. Someone was about to call for help.

Perhaps it was because I came upon the scene with a fresh pair of eyes that I asked, puzzled, “Elizabeth, did you put your head through the fence, or your body?” 

“My body!” she exclaimed.

“Ah! Then slide your body back through!” I told her. She did, and the problem was solved. As it turns out, there are two ways your head can end up on the opposite side of the fence from your body: because you put your head through, or because you put the rest of yourself through and your head couldn’t follow.

There are many times in life when we feel trapped, but can easily solve our problems if only we look at them differently. It’s one reason my list of go-to prayers includes this simple one: Lord, help me see this from Your perspective.

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