“It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.” These words have been attributed to Archbishop Oscar Romero who was shot and killed while saying Mass in San Salvador in 1980. It is be beginning of a prayer in which we are reminded that life is greater than ourselves and that we are merely seed planters in the grand scheme of things.
I find this a helpful thought not only to keep a perspective on what I am able to do with my life, but also what might shape my response to the current activities of my life. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in my feelings about the present that I lose perspective on what I want my life to represent. Sometimes I allow the feelings of the moment to control my response to a challenging situation.
When I take a step back and look at the long view, the emotions of the present may not be as important as they feel. When I think about my family and friends, I alway try to not only respond to the moment but to imagine how my response will impact the long term relationship. Of course, we never know that the long term will be, but being human we can’t avoid paying attention to it.
And, I think this long view comes from my being formed by the religious community of which I am a part. All my life, I have been reminded week after week that God has a vision of what the world would be like when it lives according to divine insight. I have been challenged and invited to live into that vision of a world where peace and love are a reality for all. I have been directed to consider what others are going through as I consider my actions.
So, I pray with the Archbishop, “It helps, now and then, to step back and take the long view.”