Share Your Little Vistas

flowers in alley

Most countries have their majestic views. They’re the sights that populate Google image results and Pinterest collections. I’m thinking Eiffel Towers and Mount Fujis.

In the capital of Taiwan, we could ride the gondola up to the heights of Maokong and gaze at Taipei 101 piercing the skyline  of the city, surrounded by a ring of mountains. Or we could stand at the entrance of Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Park, with its paved square and manicured lawns leading to the majestic bright-white, blue roofed Memorial Hall.

If you visit Taipei, I’d suggest you try to see both of these grand vistas. But living there for a while, I had some little vistas that impacted me more. For instance, there was the view from my favorite seat in a Starbucks deep in the subway system. Through the glass wall in front of me, I could look down a long corridor, lined with shops. The architecture was nondescript, but what impacted me was the constant crowds of people kaleidoscoping by. I spent a lot of time at that vantage point mulling over big decisions.

And there was an ancient tree on a college campus downtown that caught my attention. It was mostly sideways limbs, gnarled and stretching out in all directions. The limbs were so heavy and low that they had to be held up by short concrete pillars so they wouldn’t touch the ground. I admired that tree. It was old and weary but enduring. It was especially picturesque during a rain shower.

What about you, in your host country? Do you have a little vista that brings you joy or peace or hope or inspiration?

Maybe you can’t get to yours right now, because you’ve had to leave your home, or maybe it’s inaccessible while you shelter in place. Maybe it’s just around the corner, or maybe it’s a bus ride away. Maybe it’s part of your weekly routine, or maybe you catch a glimpse of it every day, framed by your kitchen window. Maybe it’s a piece of God’s creation, or maybe it’s man made. Maybe you put it together yourself. Maybe you stumbled upon it. Maybe you’ve shown it to your friends. Maybe it’s a place it seems no one else has found.

Can you share with us a little vista? Can you sketch a word picture in the comments below and help us see—and feel—a small corner of your big part of the world? I hope so. I think we could all use a little extra joy and peace and hope and inspiration.

[photo: “Flowerpot of the Roadside” by mrhayata, used under a Creative Commons license]

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Craig Thompson

Craig and his wife, Karen, along with their five children, served as missionaries in Taipei, Taiwan, for ten years before returning to southwest Missouri. His experiences, as well as conversations with other cross-cultural workers, have made him more and more interested in member care and the process of transitioning between cultures. Craig blogs at

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