Life with a View

The view from our Florida hotel room in January 2020.

A cushy chair faces a wall. A rear-paralyzing seat looks toward a captivating view.

I always choose the latter.

My brain, tethered to computer screens for hours, needs one-minute vacations — or five-minute — or fifteen-minute bits of visual refreshment to help me remember my name by day’s end.

Azaleas abloom at Taylor University.

Even my claustrophobia bows to passion for a view. When we moved, my husband (who could work in an appliance box) raised his eyebrows when I selected the smallest bedroom for my office: “You’ll run out of space.”

But I couldn’t see out the larger rooms’ high windows. My office boasts spectacular views of sunrises and neighbors’ lovely yards.

Soon, though, I ran out of space.

Hubby recalled my New Year’s resolution to shovel out my office.

Why, when my laptop and I could move to a spot with a better view?

This issue has surfaced even in instructions regarding my burial. When I rise on Resurrection Morning, I don’t want to take in the back of a strip mall. Or a first glimpse of fake blue and orange roses or tacky plastic angels on my grave. These views, in my view, should not precede the heavenly ones I anticipate.

I blame my mother for this idiosyncrasy. Mom generally prayed with eyes open — possibly because of five children. But she treasured views, too, riveting her gaze on spreading trees outside; a rare, uncluttered corner; or red tomatoes, green pickles and golden peaches she canned, too amazed at God’s goodness to shut it all out.

Mom’s passion for a view didn’t always lean toward the spiritual. In a restaurant, the hostess had better not seat her facing the kitchen. Or at a window near a dumpster. Or by a wall whose color she disliked (she’d spend the meal discussing what color she’d paint it, and if not restrained, would start the process). As a child, I thought it normal to change tables four times, trailing after Mom with my siblings like ducklings. Dad followed, in stiff, silent protest, as she cased the establishment for the best view.

Still, she remained surprisingly unfussy about some spectacles. As a three-year-old, I recall her sitting in a rickety lawn chair beside our trailer court home, staring.

I said, “Whatcha looking at, Mommy?”

The rusty back of trailer A? The wind-mangled TV aerial on trailer B?

“I’m watching fluffy clouds,” she answered. “God changes them every day. What a wonderful view.”

Even in restaurant quests, Mom never objected when seated near people less attractive, less healthy, or even less polite. Maybe she saw them as God does — more important than the scenery.

I guess it all depends on your point of view.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What’s your favorite view? Your least favorite?

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