Day 82: What you can see

This morning we were all standing around the kitchen, a news program broadcasting from the iPad on the counter. It was just about catty-corner from where Little Bean sat in her highchair eating.

Look, a rainbow! She said. No one had been paying attention to the news program so we all turned around looking for the rainbow. There, she pointed, on the iPad! Silence followed as we all searched for the invisible rainbow and then a chorus of Here? Here? Here? as each of us pointed at different things on or near the iPad that may have resembled a rainbow or the shape of a rainbow. No, she kept saying emphatically, There! Undeterred she continued pointing in the general direction of the iPad where there were definitely no rainbows.

I started to worry about her eye sight, she already wears glasses and for a fleeting moment I started to worry that maybe she was losing it.

Up until this point I was standing very near the iPad. I considered going to get her so that she could point to this alleged rainbow. She continued talking about it and then started wiggling back and forth in her chair and saying, When I wiggle, there are more and more rainbows!

Now genuinely worried that something was amiss, I considered the idea that maybe the iPad looked different from her angle. So instead of picking her up and bringing her to where I was, I walked over to where she was and still I saw nothing. Then I decided to bend down to her height and finally tried wiggling back and forth the way she was doing. Suddenly I saw it!

I called everybody over, because by now it had become a mystery the whole family was trying to solve.

We all bent down to see that when the spotlight on the ceiling reflected off the surface of the iPad, rainbow-colored half circles appeared. As I shifted my weight back and forth, more rainbows appeared on either side the circle of light.

It turned into a high-five kind of moment for the whole family. Little Bean was so proud that she had really seen rainbows and I was relieved that her eyesight wasn’t failing. The little episode left all of us sort of marveling. Realizing that if we had given up too soon, if I hadn’t moved over to see things from Little Bean’s perspective, we would maybe have made a doctor’s appointment today. We’d certainly have never seen a rainbow on this rainy morning.

How many rainbows are we missing because we’re not able to shift our weight or shrink or grow to somebody else’s level? How much are we misunderstanding because we can’t look from someone else’s perspective?

She saw something that none of us could. The room seemed to grow when I thought about that. There we all were, standing in the same room, looking at the same stuff and seeing something totally different. Just recognizing that other perspectives exist changes the landscape.

Today showed me unequivocally–your perspective dictates what you can see. That means that some things will be downright invisible to you, while others will fill your frame of vision so fully that you’ll be blinded to anything else.

We can only do so much to put ourselves in other people’s shoes, but the act of trying will shift our perspectives and our experiences. It will create a ripple in the world’s fabric that will echo long after we are gone. It will soften us to each other while it makes us more powerful. As we embrace the vastness of humanity our hearts will grow. While it can appear overwhelming, it is a chance to see more—more layers, more possibility, more people, more rainbows. I don’t want to miss any of it.

Until tomorrow,

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