What we are looking for is often in front of us, ready to be seized.
“We are too busy mopping the floor to turn off the faucet.” ~ Author unknown
Early mornings at my house are easily the craziest moments of each day. With two boys - already groggy and irritable from getting up before dawn - having to get ready and out of the door before six-thirty, my house is, on the best of days, the proverbial zoo. Books are stuffed in school bags at the last minute, coats become invisible, and at least one of four shoes is always seemingly stolen by a hungry troll in the middle of the night.
Yesterday morning was one of those mornings. No matter how many sermons I preach the night before, rare is the day when everything is in place and ready to go. At six twenty-five, less than five minutes before the bus was ready to show up at the bus stop, my younger son announced that the shoe troll had visited again. The mad search against time began, and we spent the next few minutes running from room to room, our eyes robotically scanning all floor surfaces for a pair of white sneakers.
Jokes apart, shoes are not the only thing that ‘disappears’ when our focus is on the wrong things – opportunities, peace, solutions can be in plain sight, but we are often too busy looking at what we don’t want to see what we are looking for. Can you think of anything you have overlooked while you were too busy concentrating on the wrong things?
The kids searched downstairs and I covered the two floors upstairs, all the while tuning everything else out that wasn’t white or shaped like a shoe. By the time the two boys made it up the stairs to the third floor, I was fuming and darting my eyes from one end to the other of the floor like a mad woman. The moment Michael popped his head into the door, I turned my head and spat out that his shoes weren’t upstairs, venom dripping from the fangs I was about to sink into his not-so-innocent head.
Michael looked at me with big blue eyes, and as he passed me on the stairs he said: “Sure they are mom, they are right there.” I followed him up, and there they were – two big white sneakers sitting in perfect view on a shelf in the bonus room. How had I missed those big old white boats in the middle of an otherwise bold-colored room?
Realizing we have missed out on something important is maddening in itself, but owning up to it can be a smack to our pride. Rather than accepting our oversight, it’s easier to lash out at others for their shortcomings. Do you feel that your own frustrations at ‘missing out’ translate into misplaced anger?
After the boys left and I was able to sit down with a cup of coffee, I thought back about the shoes. They were right in front of me, but I was so blinded by my own irritation and panic at the thought of not finding them on time, that I simply couldn’t see them.
Quite often, what we need is within reach, yet we fail to spot it because rather than focusing on the solution we focus on the problem. In this case, my energy was directed toward barking at the kids for not being organized, and by not seeing the shoes I validated my own irritation. Had I taken a deep breath and looked at the room in its entirety, I wouldn’t have missed them, but instead, I allowed my own perception of where shoes should normally be to dictate the scope of my search. The fact that I could use the repeat offense to make a point was definitely an added bonus.
Our mental expectations can sometimes lead to lost opportunities. Have you ever been so stuck on an idea, or a model, that you have become blind to other possibilities?
If we could detach from the problem for just a moment, instead than clinging to it to validate or prove a point, we could fine tune our focus and direct it toward a possible solution.
There is no reason why we should look for hard ways to fix something simple.
Life is not meant to be hard. We just make it that way.
What is sitting right in front of you that you're not seeing?
Seeing with sometimes blinded eyes,
When you comment on an Owning Pink blog post, we invite you to be authentic and loving, to say what you feel, to hold sacred space so others feel heard, and to refrain from using hurtful or offensive language. Differing opinions are welcomed, but if you cannot express yourself in a respectful, caring manner, your comments will be deleted by the Owning Pink staff.