‘It took my breath away – it absolutely shocked me’: How this woman’s son opened her eyes to a new perspective with one simple photo

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“Things aren’t always as we see them…

‘Can we have our rehearsal dinner at your house – your backyard would be perfect!’ Several years ago when our niece was planning her wedding and asked if they could have their rehearsal dinner at our house – in our backyard – we loved the idea. We were thrilled to be part of this very happy occasion.   Our backyard was a great place for an outdoor party but there was one problem, the grass had been slowly dying for a while. It was being choked out with weeds, but with work, family, sports and all the rest of our crazy busy lives, it was the last thing that mattered.

But now that we were going to be hosting a party we saw it with new eyes. It looked bad – really bad. I mean awful.  It was literally dead grass and nasty weeds that were spreading fast and taking over. I’m not sure when this happened but it was probably sometime between, ‘We should really do something about those weeds’ and, ‘Well, at least the weeds are green, and they make it look like we still have grass – if you don’t look too closely.’ Since this was a special occasion, it seemed like the perfect time and reason to have the yard re-sodded.

The day before the new grass was to go in, I asked our younger son to go out back and take some ‘before’ pictures so we’d appreciate the money we were spending and see the huge improvement that was coming. Plus who doesn’t love a good ‘before’ and ‘after’ comparison?! Backyard makeover here we come! I expected to see some ugly photos of dead grass and weeds, but this is the picture my son showed me when he came back inside…

Tracy Hargen

It took my breath away – it absolutely shocked me. Where did he take this? Not in our yard! You must understand, our yard was a nightmare. From our perspective – patchy bald spots of dying grass and crazy tall weeds. Look at it from his perspective – he didn’t see a dead, ugly yard. He saw the beauty. (He took it from the ground up – our house is on the left side. He took it with a simple digital camera – not even a fancy smart phone camera). But it’s obviously not about the equipment – it’s about his viewpoint. I just love the rainbow of colors in the blade of grass/weed on the right of the picture and the sunlight shining in the middle…

That’s my son. He always sees the good, the beauty, and the positive. He’s been this way his whole life, and it’s such a wonderful quality. He reminds me that life is about perspective. While I saw a terrible looking disaster of a yard not fit for a party, he saw something completely different. He saw it from a different point of view, and what a difference that makes! My sweet boy, thank you for showing me — again – that sometimes you have to look at things differently to see the beauty that is right in front of you.

Tracy Hargen

We get busy with life, family, career, commitments, worries and what needs to be done (all the weeds that are taking over!), and it’s easy to miss the beauty all around. Sometimes it takes someone else to see it differently and to remind us of the beauty that still remains. I framed this photo and hung it on the wall to remind us every day that in life, it’s all how you look at things. That meeting I’m stressing over might be my next big sale. That long drive I’m dreading might be a good chance to clear my mind or listen to a good book or some favorite music. That grocery shopping that needs to be done – be thankful you have money to buy the food you want. That laundry piling up – it means my children are home.  There’s always at least two ways to see the same situation. Why are we so quick to see the faults?

For years I saw every business trip out of town as time away from my family where I wouldn’t sleep or eat well while the to do’s would be piling up while I was away. Instead, I tried to see them differently – if you have to go, you might as well make the best of it. I knew my husband could ‘hold down the fort’ so why not let this be an opportunity for me to have some time to myself? Could it be as simple as changing my outlook? Apparently it was because the more I worked on this the easier and more natural it became. I think the picture affected me so much because I was going through some transitions in my life and things didn’t always seem positive. It made me think that perhaps my outlook could be clouded by all the weeds, but what would happen if I made a conscious decision to see these situations differently? The impact was huge – I could see opportunity instead of a closed door. I could see possibility instead of a dead end. It gave me hope. Don’t we all need a good dose of hope in our lives?

We all know that ‘one person’s trash is another person’s treasure’ – a way of saying that we all see and value things differently.  Maybe ‘our trash’ could be ‘our treasure’ if we took the time to look at it from a different angle. Don’t get me wrong – that grass still had to go before the party! But that beautiful image my son showed me that day will stay with me forever. The beauty of life is all around us – even in the chaos – we just have to slow down enough to adjust our view and appreciate it. What a treasure when we do!”

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Tracy Hargen of Georgia. She is a blogger who often features stories about motherhood and having grown children who’ve flown the coop. You can read more of her work below:

10 things that helped when my son told me he had depression

‘Everything Will Be OK’: Woman gets awe-inspiring sign after husband’s ‘serious cancer scare’

‘I felt like a complete fake. Do people really think I can do it all and be so carefree?’ Mom’s guilt over juggling career and kids

‘This was not in my plan’: Mom’s difficult time accepting son attending college 13 hours away

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