Earlier today I pulled up to a four-way stop a second or two after the person to my left. We both paused. I waited my turn. Then, said car to my left, roared forward. She looked unhappy. She looked unfriendly. She looked put upon. Most of all, she did not look pleased with me.
Please know dear reader, she may have been none of these. But such were the thoughts I had as I slowly made my way forward. You see, I’ve always been one of those persons who smiles regardless. I keep my true feelings to myself. I share only with a tiny group. That is, if two or three constitutes a group. But even with them I don’t reveal what’s really going on within me. Maybe it’s because I’m a child of an alcoholic. One of which is usually assigned the role of fixer. That was me. Or maybe it’s because I’m a diehard optimist and romantic. By God I think flowers are there to be smelled, and love is there to be felt and honored. Even if not by me. Or maybe it’s because I’m a Libra. I’ve read we are the one’s who entertain our guests well, making sure everyone has a good time. Although, I’ve met plenty a Libra who couldn’t be further from such. Regardless the reason, I smile even when unhappy. Even when I feel unfriendly. Even when put upon.
Today was one of those days wherein my eye noticed the rough edges in life a bit more than usual. I’ve worked hard to train my eye to see the beauty in most things. Even when life is like one of those puzzles we use to play as children, wherein we had to find the hidden object. Found the hammer nestled within the bark of the tree. Now the umbrella camouflaged within a potted plant. Found it. Oh God, where’s the boot. It has to be here somewhere.
The beauty of life often works like one of those puzzles. The problem is, once older, we don’t find the same joy in having to hunt for it. Instead, it sort of stinks. Or at least on days like today it does. But the hunt is a muscle. At first it exhausts easy. Over time, it gets conditioned. Pretty soon, we barely have to glance out before we pick up on all the little treasures. Things that were there all along.
That’s how life works. At least to me it is. There’s all this stuff constantly looming around. The weight of it can be absolutely crushing at times. And, oh dear reader, don’t even get me started on the pain inherent to life on this planet. It can be brutal. The pain done to us. The pain we see done to others. The pain of letting go. The pain of having to hang on.
But that muscle, the one that helps us find the beauty, allows us to do more than simply scratch a word off the object list next to a puzzle. It helps us to weather the storm. It builds grace.
Most likely, I will always be the person who sees layers and layers into life. It’s just who I am. But that muscle helps me to see the beauty in that too. It helps me to see the beauty in tears. In a novel so deep it hurts to read. In a song so touching I ache when it plays. The way the waves share their secrets and the moon reminds us of our small size. But also in the laughter that erupts from nowhere. The twinkle in a person’s eye. The kind smile of a stranger. Or the simple nod from someone who also is just trying to find the hammer hidden within the tree.
It takes great strength to be that person. Anyone can complain. Anyone can point out the tree. But I hang best with those who don’t. I tend to do best either alone, or with those who want to find the umbrella in the potted plant. Those are the one’s that can also see the beauty in me.
So dear reader, surround yourself with those who aren’t afraid to hunt a little for the goodness nestled within the cracks. They are the ones who will also take the time to hunt for it within you. There’s many of us out here. In that, you are never alone.
Normally I’m working right now. Who knew building an empowerment company would be so all-consuming (please laugh at that). But I was contacted awhile ago by someone regarding my writing. And the words they shared have stayed with me. To them this post is dedicated.