BOOK SIGNING BY LOCAL HISTORIAN.
Walter Allen is an amateur historian and regularly writes for the local newspaper. He has written two books of historical fiction. On August 18, The Square Roots Store, 115 East Laurens St. in Laurens, will play host to a book signing, from 5 to 7 pm. Please join them for a meet and greet, book signing, and Q & A with author Walter S. Allen Jr.
A recent column by Walter Allen:
Seeing the Big Picture
The phrase, “you can’t see the forests for the trees,” contains a great truth. The magnitude of the scene one may be observing is so grand in scale that details are blended together and lose their singularity. But the opposite is also true if one chooses to seek out the details. A single point of interest, if that is the viewer’s choice, can create a perception that the entire picture is very much the same as that particular single detail. The challenge to the observer is to determine which view is the one he seeks, the big picture or the small one.
Using this illustration let’s apply it to the society and culture we live in today. At times, the “big picture” can look dismal and hopeless. That is due, largely in part, to the information you and I are presented by modern communication methods, specifically broadcast news, electronic social media, and the printed word. Example: millions of children go to school every day and return home safely every day. That is the big picture, but not reportable news. However, one single incident (the small picture) of tragedy at a school occurs and it is broadcasted repeatedly. The reporting in and of itself is not the problem, it is the repetition that is the problem. It distorts the big picture creating a sense that it is the only picture. It creates a perception that causes us to ask, “What is this world coming too?”
Another input to “seeing a dismal and hopeless big picture,” is personal experience. Life can sometimes knock a person down so hard that getting up seems not worth the effort. Examples are losing a job or the loss of a loved one. When that happens, all one sees is how bad life can be, and that is a shame. Not shame on the person who landed hard, but shame on me for not seeing the need and helping. Dear readers, that is how the “big picture” changes. One act, by one individual can and does change the picture. Just one small detail within the scope of the entire world picture can change the view we wish to see. To help someone in need actually helps two people. Think about it.
A short time ago, a contributor to this paper wrote his idea of changing the “big picture.” He stated in part, “The world is evolving. Our standards need to evolve in like manner.” He continued by saying “we should hold ourselves accountable to a higher, better, more aspirational standard than our grandparents and great-grandparents.” Taken out of context one might agree with the statements. However, having read the entire article, I disagree. Our great-grandparents did not aspire to make abortion legal and change the picture. They did not aspire to make same sex marriage legal and change the picture. They did not aspire to disallow prayer in public schools and thus, change the picture. Are these the evolving standards to which the writer is suggesting we aspire to? They appear to be.
As a result of our grandparent’s standards, was the world made perfect? No. Was it better? Yes, neighbor helped neighbor. The standard for doing good is not defined by us or our future descendants as the writer indicates. Our standard for doing good in this world should be based on Jesus Christ. The world may change or “evolve”, and most assuredly it does and has over the centuries, but God does not change. His standards are the same today as they were yesterday, and they will be the same tomorrow.
Walter Allen has a BA degree from Auburn University and is retired from the paper industry. He is a published author and lives in Laurens County.
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