There is a tall board fence that separates my yard from my neighbor’s yard. The fence has two knotholes in it, one close to the bottom of the fence and one close to the top of the fence. If my neighbor peered into the bottom knothole, he might find my golden retriever peering back at him. If he would peek through the higher knothole, he would see the birdhouse we made from a hollowed gourd hanging on a post. The same backyard, but because of my neighbor’s point of view, he sees two totally different things.
This was the lead paragraph in a story I wrote in a literature class almost 15 years ago. The essay was an analysis of an author’s point of view and how it impacts what we “see” in a story.
Consider the book versus movie debate. What side of the fence are you on when it comes to reading the book or seeing the movie? We can argue which one is better…my vote is for the book…but no matter what side you take, books played out on the big screen give us another lesson in how an author’s point of view changes what we see. Have you ever read the book first only to go to the movie and walk out saying, “That is not how it ended in the book!” The same is true in life. The last chapter hasn’t been written, so we don’t know how the story will end.
Or are you like me and sometimes while reading a good book, in eager anticipation to find out how it ends, you skip to the back? Yep, I’ve done it! We don’t get to peek ahead to see the last chapter of our lives though, but our point of view still shapes the story. We all have our knotholes. For me, faith is my knothole. It allows me to see enough to trust the author.
Since Jan. 24, I have mourned the loss of three family members: a cousin, an uncle and an aunt. Loss is painful, but it is my point of view that allows me to move forward even with a broken heart; faith is my knothole. I certainly don’t pretend to know the answers when faced with such challenging times. I often have more questions than answers, but I do know my point of view shapes the story that I am “reading.”
What do you see when reading a story? It depends on the knothole you peer through. Each point of view is different and can give us hints of the author’s intentions. Without this knowledge and the realization that a different point of view can significantly alter the story, we may unintentionally miss out on what the author wanted to tell us.
What do you see through your knothole? Pull up a chair and let’s talk.