“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” – Henry David Thoreau
During this morning’s (struggle) long run, I noticed a man along my route who gave me a bit to think about.
As I plodded along (hot, grumpy, uncomfortable), I glanced over and took in the most idyllic scene. A man was lounging in his porch swing, bare feet settled on the armrest, head propped up with pillows and his hands slowly turning the pages of a book. A chunky chocolate Labrador retriever snoozed a few feet away, his chin and a single paw draped off the top step to the porch. An instant peace washed over me. I took a deep breath, appreciated the soothing breeze, smiled to myself, (talked myself out of taking a photo because that would’ve been weird) and kept moving. That guy, I thought to myself, knows how to truly relax and savor a beautiful morning. (A sharp contrast to my suffer-fest.)
As I chided myself for not enjoying the day like him, it occurred to me: I was only seeing a snapshot. While the scene might have seemed perfect, I had written an entire narrative based on what I could see in that very specific moment – and judged myself accordingly. What if the guy was outside because someone in the house was on his nerves? What if someone in the house was irritated with him for lounging around and not helping to clean up the breakfast dishes?
I guess my point is…we don’t have the first clue what’s going on with others beyond what meets the eye. And because we don’t know, there’s no room for assumptions. There’s no point in judging ourselves or anyone else based on a glimpse.
Okay, one more at-a-glimpse story: the above sunflower. She’s tiny and brave, the only bloom left on her plant, and I love her guts. Reality? I’m guessing the property owners just haven’t discarded this dead plant yet. But I suppose I’ll never know.
On a random note…take a look at the size of these blooms! They’re bigger than my feet!