Friday, October 4, 2013

beauty{full}: selective viewing

October fourth is slipping away from me quickly. It has been a full day of x-rays and amoxicillin (for Tiny's newly discovered pneumonia) and trying to treasure moments with the boys and then trying not to kill them when they took two full hours to stop goofing off and finally go to sleep. It would be easy to look back at today and be frustrated because it's past 930 and I'm just now getting to sit down and rest and write, to be discouraged by Tiny's diagnosis, to be overwhelmed by the number of things piling up on my To Do list after almost two weeks of stay at home get the picture. And so, I want to tell you a story. A quick one, so I can get myself to bed sooner rather than later.

My freshman year of college I did what most freshmen do and dated a guy for a few months who was completely ill suited to me. Freshmen are smart like that. Anyway, one of my most specific memories from those months was a trip we made to a park together. I remember commenting repeatedly on the beauty of the day, the lush green of the newly budding trees, and the loveliness of the creek as it rushed past still winter-cold rocks. All he saw were the four or five pieces of trash littering the shore and the graffiti scrawled across the bridge.

At the time I laughed about it, excusing myself for not noticing what he saw, having learned early on growing up in a third world country that if you always focus on the trash, you never enjoy the view. Later, I just felt sorry for him, that he missed out on the beautiful because he had never learned to practice "selective viewing", that rare gift that enables you to block out the ugly in favour of the beautiful and so enjoy yourself more fully.

So here's my tie in: as you look at your life--whether that is the immediacy of your day (pneumonia and all), the grand scheme of things, or even the specifics such as the aesthetics of your home or your own physical appearance--give selective viewing a try. Choose to see the happy smiles as you cuddle on the couch with your kids instead of the dog hair making a new carpet on your floor. Enjoy the new maturity gracing your face and don't worry quite so much about the stretch marks, wrinkles, and grey hairs. Take the kids outside to see the sunrise and ignore the fact that everyone's still in pajamas and the neighbors might talk. Go visit the small trickle of water cutting through the dead Oklahoman grass and lovingly refer to it as a stream while admiring the burst of sunflowers growing nearby.

Perhaps the world is full of beauty after all, if we just choose to ignore a few pieces of trash.

Incidentally, for the inquiring minds who want to know, I've taken the Man to that same park at least three or four times and we've never once found ourselves talking about the trash in the stream...

My dad and Tiny admiring the aforementioned stream.
Do you think they saw trash or treasure?

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