An Obstructed View

Picture this. It’s your birthday, and as you excitedly open the white envelope with your name on it that you retrieved from your mailbox only moments ago, a card falls out. There’s an image of a festive birthday cake on the front of the card and sitting atop of the cake are two colorful giant numbered candles depicting your new age. As you open the card you read the thoughtful handwritten note that your mother has made just for you. You laugh and cry at the beautiful words that the woman who gave you life provided for you on this special day. As you close the card and try to put it back into the envelope from where it once came, you realize that there is a piece of paper that is preventing you from placing the card back in the envelope. You open the envelope wider to get a better view of the piece of paper that is stopping you from returning the card to the envelope when you realize that there is not one piece of paper in the envelope, but two. You place your thumb and index finger inside and to your complete and utter surprise you pull out two tickets that let you know that you will be seeing your favorite singer perform live that night!

You immediately pull out your cell phone from the front pocket of your jeans and call your mom. She picks up on the third ring and says “did you like your gift?” in the same all knowing tone that she used to use on you when you were a child and were answering a question that she asked you but she already knew the answer to. You excitedly thank her over and over again for the kind words in the letter and the amazing tickets to see your favorite performer live. Your mom lets you know that the extra ticket is for your best friend and that your bestie is going to meet you at your house at 6:00 so that you guys can go to the concert together. As you marvel at how much effort your mom has put into your amazing birthday gift, she tells you that she will let you go so that you can start getting ready for the concert. You thank her one more time and then hit end on your phone before you start to get ready.

At 5:55 your phone buzzes. You take your phone out from your front pocket once again, but this time you see a text from your friend saying she’s running a little bit late, but she will be at your house no later than 6:15. You reply “Ok, see you at 6:15.” You don’t mind her being a little late. The concert doesn’t start until 8:00, and your mom probably told your friend to be at your house by 6:00 because she knew that your friend would need to be told to be at your house early because she was never on time. Even if she came at 6:30 you would still have plenty of time to get to the concert.

You look down at your phone and it’s now 6:45. You’re waiting impatiently at the front of your house when you finally here a knock at the front door. You open it to see your best friend standing their smiling apologetically. You grumble something about how she’s never on time as you lock your door behind you and hurriedly usher your friend to your car. You’re angry that she’s late, but at least you can finally get on the road.

At the concert, things seem to go from bad to worse. Because of your friend’s delayed arrival to your house, you got stuck in traffic and are 45 minutes late to the concert, and it turns out as a result of this you missed your favorite singer perform your favorite song. You angrily walk to your seat and even though your seats are only 20 rows from the from the stage, you realize that the men standing in front of you and your friend are twice your size so you can’t see the performance unless you look up on the big screen at the top of the arena. To make matters worse, as you are trying to stand up on your seat to see over the heads of the guy in front of you, your pants leg gets stuck on the corner of the seat, ripping a giant fist-sized hole into your favorite pair of jeans. By this point in time, you’re fuming and give up trying to see and resign to experience the rest of the concert sitting down in your seat that just so happens to have a broken arm rest.

Fast forward three hours. The concert is over, and you’re back at home laying face up on your couch. You go over the events of the night in your head and wonder why everything that could have possibly gone wrong went wrong on the one day out of the year that you should actually be enjoying yourself. Disappointed with how your big day went, you turn over face down on your couch, and without looking, you reach for the lamp on the wooden table beside you and pull the string on the lamp, turning off the light which leaves you in complete and total darkness as you slowly drift off into a restless sleep.

Now let’s look at this same scenario through a different lens.

Your friend is 45 minutes late, and instead of getting angry, you sit back and think how you are just happy that you get to spend some time with your friend. As you get older in life it becomes more and more difficult to find time to spend with the people you love. As your friends get jobs and start families, you tend to see less and less of the people that you actually want to see, and as you think about this little fact of life you realize that it doesn’t matter that she’s running late because you are actually fortunate enough to spend your birthday in the company of your best friend.

You get to the concert late, missing your favorite song, but instead of getting mad you’re thankful that you still get to see more than half of the concert. It doesn’t matter that you didn’t hear the first few songs because you get to hear the rest of the songs by your favorite artist live! The tall man standing in front of you forces you to stand on top of your seat, ripping your favorite pair of jeans, but instead of allowing your anger to rise to a dangerous level, you realize that this is a blessing in disguise. You have enough jeans already and you had been meaning to clean out your closet of some of your clothes, and these newly ripped jeans mean that there will be one less piece of clothing cluttering up your closet. As you spend the rest of the concert sitting down listening to the music of your favorite musical artist, you are thankful that you’re seated in front of a man that is twice your size because now you get to sit down and just listen to the performance instead of spending the night standing on your feet and jumping up and down, dancing for hours, which probably would have left your feet throbbing by the end of the night.

Zora Neal Hurston, Civil Rights Activist and author of Their Eyes Were watching God, once said that “happiness is nothing but everyday living seen through a veil,” and if you ask me she was on to something.

Positive thinker, the difference between people who walk through life feeling happy and the people who walk through life with a cloud of gloom raining over their heads is how they choose to look at life. If you walk around life finding the negative in every single situation then you will only be able to experience negativity; however, chances are, if you develop a frame of mind where you make an effort to find the good in all situations, especially in the really terrible ones, then you’ll probably be much happier as a result of it.

In life, it’s not always what you see with your eyes that is the most important thing. Sometimes you need to obstruct your vision in order to experience clarity. When you only look at something with your eyes you are just able to see the situation at face value. Perfect vision doesn’t always allow you to experience your world in its entirety. When your sight is not at 100% you have to rely on other parts of your body to help, which can sometimes allow you to “see” more clearly than perfect vision ever could. If you experience a given situation with your ears, heart, mind, and spirit instead of just with your “perfect vision” then you are likely to get a better and more accurate view of that situation.

Everyone will experience unhappy moments in life, positive thinker, but it is in these moments that we need to obstruct our vision the most. If your eyes are only allowing you to see the bad then block your vision so that you can dig deep and use other parts of yourself to find the good in that situation.

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