Perceptions Motivate Us

Back to that desire of my heart I didn’t want to mention. I really wanted to visit Sarah at her summer job in Alaska. Ever since we stood Sarah up for a Christmas visit to Argentina, I’ve felt the need to visit her during a vacation.

I know it seems silly, maybe even a little helicopterish, but there you have it. Deep down, I know it has to do with providing a positive context for reconnecting with each other as a family after that disastrous year of discovery. After discussing it with Pedro, we decided that we would embark on the adventure of a lifetime.

We invited Laura and Louis to join us on our trip. Unfortunately, her doctors told her she had a high-risk pregnancy, so they had to decline. However, they were able to camp with us in Montana for a week before we started our official trek up the Alaska Highway (formerly the Al-Can Highway).

Even though we wouldn’t spend any time with the ENTIRE family, I knew that our shared experiences would strengthen our bonds.

As we planned our summer, we couldn’t figure out how to fit everything in. Pedro only had four weeks of vacation time. If we spent four days in Montana and at least five days driving to Alaska, we would only have two weeks in Alaska before we would need to head back. The time traveling there didn’t justify the time we could spend there.

“Why don’t you just fly back from Alaska,” I suggested.

“What? And make you drive home by yourself?!”

“I’ll know how to drive really well by then,” I assured Pedro. “And you know me. A week of silence won’t bother me at all!”

First Stop, Bozeman, MT

We decided to camp just north of Bozeman, MT, in a free Forest Service campground at Battle Ridge. Laura and Louis arrived before we did, and saved a spot for us. I did some of the driving, but when we arrived I willingly let Pedro maneuver the trailer into the proper position. After all, I would have four weeks to practice before he had to fly home from Anchorage and I would have to suck it up and do everything on my own.

After Pedro backed the trailer in, I started setting everything up inside while he worked on the outside. I stepped outside to see if I could extend the push-out. “It looks level to me,” I told Pedro.

“It’s not,” he assured me. “I need to pull it forward and then back it onto the blocks before it’s level.”

While he got in the truck, I surreptitiously checked the level on the front of the trailer. Yep. I should know better than to argue with Pedro, because he always checks the level—both on the inside and the outside. Once he had the trailer leveled both side to side and front to back, I finished setting up on the inside.

Perceptions Don’t Tell the Truth

Of course, the next morning, I had to snap a photo that clearly showed how unleveled the trailer looked. It looked out-of-whack and catawampus.

But inside the trailer, where it matters most, everything clearly showed that the trailer sat on the level. Which made me think about how often we judge people and think they suffer from lack of balance because they don’t do exactly what we do or recommend.

All too often I let my Judgy McJudgerton personality out of the closet and start sniping and griping about someone who seems ‘unbalanced’ to me. But I don’t have perfect perception—only God has that.

Stop worrying about other people's balance and work on keeping yourself level. Click To Tweet

Beauty Tip #5: Worry about YOUR OWN inner balance and remember that perceptions deceive us.

Q4U: Have you ever misjudged someone because you let your perceptions get in the way of the evidence?


  1. Yikes. I definitely have done that and still do. The worst time was when I didn’t want to be friends with a neighbor because she intimidated me. She is so pretty and friendly and I didn’t feel like I measured up. Silly me. We have been good friends for 5 years now, but I missed out on more.

  2. Love your description of your travels. Your trailer being level on the inside but not on the outside made me think that we need to make sure our lives are level on the inside with God. So often we worry about the outside more than the inside.

  3. […] Normally, I would argue with him. What I thought I saw and my perceptions of the size of the trailer and the angle of the turn had me positive that we couldn’t make it. But this was a test of my trust in his greater experience. He can back a semi uphill in the dark blindfolded (ok, maybe not blindfolded). Not to mention that he had known when the trailer was balanced. […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Anita Ojeda

Anita Ojeda juggles writing with teaching high school English and history. When she's not lurking in odd places looking for rare birds, you can find her camping with her kids, adventuring with her husband or mountain biking with her students.

You may also like

%d bloggers like this: