Try a Different Point of View

It's important to see life from a different perspective or angle.

My son Stephen and I went sailing on the Hudson River this weekend. I've gone on the Staten Island Ferry and in water taxis, with guests on the Circle Line. Yet in 30 years here, I'd never been sailing before. Somehow the Island of Manhattan's waterways have always seemed defined by the city, rather than the other way around.

Until you are out in the middle of the Hudson, that is. There the city looks different. The world smells different. Even the air feels different. Looking at familiar parks and buildings from the water is like peering into my life through the eyes of others. The places I know best aren't all that obvious. And the landmarks that appear most prominent are relatively insignificant in my daily life.

Read More: Bible Verses About Helping Others

I find it's good for my heart to put some effort into seeing the world from different angles. Mostly I do this on the subway or on line at the grocery (for in case you didn't know, New Yorkers stand "on line," not in one). It makes me more human to let my mind wander and wonder what others' lives are like. Did she just get a raise? What was his father like when he was a child? What did she fight about with her spouse last week? Why is that man weary? Who did the young man vote for in the primary, and why?

I'm far more likely to guess wrong than right, of course. It doesn't matter, for half the point of the exercise is to remind me that I don't really know anything about this other person. So if that large man steps on my toe it may be because he's thoughtless... or because his child is dying of cancer. I can't leap to conclusions. I have to stay open to the possibility that what I see is a function of where I am and who I am.

God asks me to respond to others, rather than react to them. That takes a different perspective, as different to me as seeing Manhattan from the Hudson.

6 Favorite Sites from Morgan Freeman's 'Story Of God'

If you followed along with Morgan Freeman as he traveled the globe for his National Geographic series The Story of God, you might have had some of your biggest questions answered. Of course, the series probably raised a few as well. Either way, watching the actor journey from one incredible place to the next surely gave you inspiration for your own travel bucket list. Whether he was studying ancient history in the Middle East or meeting with Catholic bishops in Rome, Freeman visited a few places that we want to book a ticket to see. Check out our favorite moments.

  • Mayan Temple in Takal

    When He Climbed The Steps Of A Mayan Temple

    The actor traveled deep into the Guatemalan jungle to explore the ancient Mayan city of Takal and to learn how the people there viewed food and faith. Some archeologists believe that the stone structures in the abandoned city have been arranged to mirror the stars in Orion’s belt. We think, instead of visiting Machu Picchu, you should give Takal a try. 

  • Church of the Holy Sepulchre

    When He Explored The Church Of The Holy Sepulchre

    For Christians, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre holds invaluable meaning. It is believed to be where Jesus was crucified. The Church also houses the Chapel of Adam, the first man. Freeman explored the religious site and his tour made us want to take a trip to Jerusalem too. 

  • Egyptian Pyramid

    When He Crawled Through An Ancient Pyramid

    To better understand how ancient people viewed the afterlife, Freeman traveled to Egypt to inspect the tomb of the Pharaoh Unas. Though climbing beneath all of that sand and rock wasn’t easy, the chance to see thousand-year old hieroglyphics up close seems worth it. 

  • The Vatican

    When He Sat Down With The Pontifical Academy Of Sciences

    Even Morgan Freeman couldn't get a meeting with the Pope, but he was able to sit down with some of the brightest minds in the world. The actor visited members of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (it’s like the Vatican’s own science department) to talk about some big topics. couldn’t help marveling at how beautiful sites like the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica are when we recently visited the Holy City. 

  • The Ganges River

    When He Sailed The Ganges River

    In the show’s premiere episode, Freeman takes on a subject we’re all curious about: What happens when we die? His journey leads him to Varanasi, India and the banks of the Ganges River, one of the holiest bodies of water on earth. The city is flooded with color and life. People travel here to pay their respects to those who have moved on from this life and to strengthen their own faith. 

  • Gobekli Tepe

    When He Visited The World’s First Place Of Worship

    There are plenty of ancient, religious sites to be found in Turkey but Catalhoyuk may be the most interesting among them. Once a settlement supporting thousands of people nearly 9,000 years ago, the city’s nearby temple, Gobekli Tepe, is believed to be the world’s first temple.