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Getting a Closer Look — It Makes Everything Look Different

During a routine dental cleaning this week, I heard the hygienist say the last words I expected. “You have a cracked tooth!”

No way. At first, I didn’t believe her.

If you crack a tooth, it’s not something you miss. Right?

Wrong. When she got up close and peered into my mouth with her handy little dental mirror, she could see something I couldn’t. Something hidden because it was not in my line of vision.

And because I wasn’t experiencing any pain, I didn’t know what I was missing and or how long it might have gone undetected before an infection set in or some other nasty dental aberration occurred.

Even though I didn’t get the good news I wanted this time around. I did get the news I needed to hear.

This little blip on my physical health checklist got me thinking about how important it is to pay close attention (to get up close and personal) with matters that well, matter.

From a distance people, places, and things can appear fine (or not.) Up close, (for better or worse) everything looks different.

If I only scan the online news headlines, only watch the world news, only listen to national radio…I’m inclined to believe everything I hold dear in regard to my country is disintegrating before my eyes.

But…if I take the time to look closer at some of the facts…everything (or at least some things) looks different (and better.)

Take a look at these facts that frequently fail to make headlines (and are often out of our line of vision) —

* Real per-capita income has doubled since 1960.

* Life expectancy has nearly doubled in the past century and continues to rise.

* The size of the average new home in America has grown from 1,100 square feet to 2,300 today.

* The average Westerner is more prosperous than 99.4 percent of everyone who’s ever lived on earth.

When I read these statistics closely and picture in my mind what it was like for Americans before these were true, I am grateful. Whatever sacrifices I may make (or have to start making), my life here, is something worth celebrating (and worth fighting to protect.)

When my line of vision is focused on what matters; setbacks, disturbances, and even major upsets, can’t alter the facts.

Even our little equals much by the world’s standards.

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