It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.
Henry David Thoreau
I stumbled across a poem yesterday that triggered a remembrance of a comment someone made to me a few years ago. I had exclaimed on a particularly nice spring day how nice our community looked with the trees and flowers in bloom when the response was that I thought so because I didn’t see the weeds.
I was taken aback by the criticism until I realized it was somewhat accurate. You see my focus has pretty much always been on what is right around me versus what is wrong. Don’t get me wrong I still like to do all I can to make it better, it is just I would rather count my blessings instead of dwelling on what is wrong about my world.
To tell the truth I have seldom found the excessively critical to be as happy with their lives as I am with mine. Here is the poem I read, I wish I knew who wrote it but I don’t.
The Most Beautiful Flower
The park bench was deserted as I sat down to read
Beneath the long,straggly branches of an old willow tree.
Disillusioned by life with good reason to frown,
For the world was intent on dragging me down.
And if that weren’t enough to ruin my day,
A young boy out of breath approached me, all tired from play.
He stood right before me with his head tilted down
And said with great excitement, “Look what I found!”
In his hand was a flower, and what a pitiful sight,
With its petals all worn – not enough rain, or too little light.
Wanting him to take his dead flower and go off to play,
I faked a small smile and then shifted away.
But instead of retreating he sat next to my side
And placed the flower to his nose and declared with overacted surprise,
“It sure smells pretty and it’s beautiful, too.
That’s why I picked it; here, it’s for you.”
The weed before me was dying or dead.
Not vibrant of colors: orange, yellow or red.
But I knew I must take it, or he might never leave.
So I reached for the flower, and replied, “Just what I need.”
But instead of him placing the flower in my hand,
He held it mid-air without reason or plan.
It was then that I noticed for the very first time
That weed-toting boy could not see: he was blind.
I heard my voice quiver; tears shone in the sun
As I thanked him for picking the very best one.
“You’re welcome,” he smiled, and then ran off to play,
Unaware of the impact he’d had on my day.
I sat there and wondered how he managed to see
A self-pitying woman beneath an old willow tree.
How did he know of my self-indulged plight?
Perhaps from his heart, he’d been blessed with true sight.
Through the eyes of a blind child, at last I could see
The problem was not with the world; the problem was me.
And for all of those times I myself had been blind,
I vowed to see the beauty in life,
And appreciate every second that’s mine.
And then I held that wilted flower up to my nose
And breathed in the fragrance of a beautiful rose
And smiled as I watched that young boy,
Another weed in his hand,
“Songs are as sad as the listener.”
Jonathan Safran Foer
Mrs. Crumps was called to serve for jury duty, but asked to be excused because she didn’t believe in capital punishment and didn’t want her personal thoughts to prevent the trial from running its proper course. But the public defender liked her thoughtfulness and quiet calm, and tried to convince her that she was appropriate to serve on the jury.
“Madam,” he explained, “This is not a murder trial! It’s a simple civil lawsuit. A wife is bringing this case against her husband because he gambled away the $12,000 he had promised to use to remodel the kitchen for her birthday.”
“Well, okay,” agreed Mrs. Crumps, “I’ll serve. I guess I could be wrong about capital punishment after all.”
“HECK IS WHERE PEOPLE GO WHO DON’T BELIEVE IN GOSH”
She said: As a single, never-married woman in my 40’s, I have been questioned endlessly about my status by friends, relatives, and co-workers. Over the years I’ve noticed a subtle change in the nature of their inquiries.
In my teens, friends would ask, “Whom are you going out with this weekend?”
In my 20’s, relatives would say, “Whom are you dating?”
In my 30’s, co-workers might inquire, “So, are you dating anyone?”
Now people ask, “Where did you get that adorable purse?”
“I don’t feel old – I don’t feel anything until noon. Then its time for my nap.”
Little Johnny and his family were having Sunday dinner at his Grandmother’s house. Everyone was seated around the table as the food was being served. When little Johnny received his plate he started eating right away.
“Johnny wait until we say our prayer.”
“I don’t have to.” The boy replied.
“Of course, you do,” his mother insisted. “We say a prayer before eating at our house.”
“That’s our house,” Johnny explained. “But this is Grandma’s house, and she knows how to cook!
The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.’
Stay well, do good work, and have fun.
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