Lily and James were an elderly couple who had just found their dream home in a quiet corner of town. Having just moved into the new neighborhood, they were filled with enthusiasm and dreams of a fresh start.
One crisp morning, as the golden rays of sun streamed through their window, Lily glanced outside to see their neighbor, Mrs. Collins, hanging out her laundry. The sight of the seemingly dull and stained clothes billowing in the breeze caught Lily’s attention.
“Oh dear, those clothes don’t seem very clean,” she remarked, sipping her coffee. “Maybe she’s using the wrong detergent or doesn’t know the proper way to wash the clothes.”
Her husband looked on, but remained silent, choosing not to comment.
James would hear this observation almost every week, a repeated chorus over their morning coffee. He’d simply nod, choosing not to comment, his eyes fixed on his newspaper.
But then one brilliant morning, a change occurred. The sheets hanging next door were radiant, as white as snow and as fresh as the morning dew. “Oh, look!” exclaimed Lily, her eyes wide in surprise. “Mrs. Collins seems to have figured out the secret to pristine laundry! I wonder who guided her?”
James, with a small, knowing smile, leaned over and replied, “Well, love, this morning, before you woke up, I took the liberty of cleaning our windows.”
And in that gentle revelation, a profound truth emerged. The world we see is often a reflection of our perspective, tinted by the clarity or smudges on our own windows of perception.
“Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?”
– Matthew 7:3
The Window Through Which We See The World
Lily’s initial observations about her neighbor’s laundry stemmed from genuine concern. Yet without realizing it, she was looking through a window clouded by her own preconceptions.
Indeed, the reality which we perceive others is shaped by our very own preconceptions. This is why we should always be careful before judging others and understand that our perceptions are clouded by so many things like our life experiences, cultural background, upbringing and personal biases. These make up the “window” through which we see the world, but they can lead us to many false assumptions.
The story of Lily and James is a beautiful analogy to this idea, teaching us a lesson in perspective and the importance of looking inward. How often do we, like Lily, point out the stains in others’ lives without realizing that the true imperfection lies in our own perception?
This story invites us to reflect on our perceptions of others and to be patient & compassionate to those around us.
Clean Your Windows
We are also called to rely not on our own perceptions, but that of God. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:5-6
As James in the story beautifully demonstrated, sometimes all it takes is a small act to bring about a profound realization and totally new perspective. Let us endeavor to clean our windows regularly, so that we may see the world, and those around us, with the clear eyes of love and understanding.
May we always trust in God’s divine plan for our lives, leaning not on our own understanding but on His boundless wisdom. In doing so, we will truly see the world in its pristine beauty, unclouded by human frailty.
“The world we see is often a reflection of our perspective, tinted by the clarity or smudges on our own windows of perception.”