life, thoughts


Here is an excerpt from an unpublished short story I wrote about my experiences with faith. This happened when I was nine years old.

“God always was, always is, and always will be,” the catechism teacher spoke to the class.

This did not make sense to me. I raised my hand.

“What is it, Lori?”

“When was God born? How could He always have been here?”

“Lori, you are not supposed to question God. You’re supposed to have faith. If you ask questions and don’t trust Him, you’ll go to purgatory.”

Another rule to remember … don’t ask God questions. I understood purgatory as a place similar to hell where souls did penance for sins, like jail. Once we paid our debt to God, we’d be let out to go to heaven. A mortal sin (breaking a commandment) gets us into hell for eternity, unless we confessed and asked for forgiveness. So many rules to remember and prayers to recite.

You’d think, after the above incident, I’d be petrified to ask questions for fear of heading to purgatory. Nope, not me. I’ve never been able engage my heart without my brain and vice versa. Just because someone we admire tells us something is true doesn’t mean they are flawless and can’t be wrong. If something doesn’t make logical sense, I need answers. So, I don’t stop asking questions until I have balance between what my heart is telling me and what the facts say. It may end up being to my detriment in this day and age, but it’s who I am.

I’m sure many people believe they’re open-minded, but do they use critical thinking? The phrase is literally what it states—be critical of our own thinking. Challenge our own thoughts and belief systems. This is not to say I don’t have faith in the unseen, but spirituality is not the point of this post. I’m using it as an example.

I understand that truth can be subjective based on each individual’s experiences. However, subjective truth only goes so far. The Universe/Nature/God or whatever one calls the force behind life, set up some parameters. For example, waterfalls go down, not up. Chrysanthemum seeds cannot grow roses. If I have two dogs and adopt two more dogs, I have four dogs. People might create their own perceptions of these things and tell themselves two dogs plus two dogs equal six dogs, but that doesn’t make it true. Some might say, well, that’s their truth. But no, it’s their perception. It’s not reality.

Reality and/or truth can be denied, but it’s still truth despite a person’s differing perception. My mother-in-law denied that her husband was ill. She consistently said he was “getting better.” She perceived him as well and convinced the both of them he didn’t need his medication. Her denial almost cost him premature death…twice. Her perception didn’t change the truth. He needed medicine to survive another day. It may have comforted her to remain in the perception that he was well, but someone needed to see truth to keep the man from suffering and death. Sometimes perception that is not based in truth can be dangerous.

Many don’t realize that they’re seeing through the eyes of their own past or present abuses. They react from some trigger in their brains that sets off a certain perception that may even be hurtful to others. Media, social media, politicians take advantage of these emotional wounds. When those wounds are aggravated, people don’t use reason, let alone critical thinking.

Would we no longer be righteous if we actually tried to understand someone we disagree with? Would our world fall apart if we found out we were wrong? Or, would the truth set us free?



17 thoughts on “Perception”

  1. We all have our worlds based on our perceptions, but it is good to question and to hear viewpoints we don’t agree with so that we sometimes startle ourselves out of those certainties and perhaps learn something new.

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    1. Hi Anneli. That’s one of the problems with perception. Some become so self-righteous in their perception that they force it onto others to the point of violence. I think all perception should be based on one absolute truth, that we’re all different and are allowed free will to create our own perceptions, as long as they don’t infringe on or cause harm to anyone else. Thanks for reading. 🙂

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    1. Hi Jill. I agree. I have my values from life lessons I’ve learned. You touched on one danger that perception can cause….someone thinking they have the absolute truth and forcing it on others. Thank you for reading. Enjoy the rest of your day. 🙂

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  2. That old saying of “perception is reality” is so true. We all see what we perceive as being absolute truth. But often it’s not. Someone else’s perception–and therefore their truth–can be very different from our own. It’s hard to wrap our heads around, especially when we’re convinced we’re right, and it’s an interesting concept for sure. You captured it beautifully, Lori.

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    1. Thank you, Carrie. I think so many people are convinced they’re right that they’re becoming self-righteous, and it’s causing fracture in our society. Sometimes it’s good to, at the very least, not-so-much change our minds, but take inventory of our own perceptions so as to make sure they aren’t intruding on others.

      I went deep today. Thanks for reading.


      1. The dichotomy of perception slips into our everyday lives too, with our relationships with others. We can’t assume something, because they might be on a completely different page. That’s something I think Whit’s End explores very well.

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        1. That’s so true about relationships, Carrie. Sometimes I’ll stop and think when my husband says something to me and I’ll say, “Did you just say such-and-such to me, because that is what I heard? Maybe you meant something else?” Each of us understands things from our own perceptions.

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