“You’ll miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut.”
The exact point in time at which it happened remains a mystery to me, but somewhere along the way I became afraid of heights. I think it must have had something to do with becoming a mom and being fearful that something would happen to me, something that would endanger my kids or leave them “momless”. In my younger days I had no problems on roller coasters or ferris wheels. Indeed, I’d be the first to accept your dare, whatever danger it included. Audaciously climb out the window and onto the roof of my Jr. High to chase down a less than stellar Math test that I had purposely thrown out so I wouldn’t have to get it signed? No problem! ( Today Mr. Wisener would be fired for letting me do that!) Ride on the hood of a speeding car through the parking lot of my Catholic high school , arms up and eyes open? Let’s go! Eyes wide open, you couldn’t scare me in my youth.
At some point in my late twenties, I became unable to keep my eyes open when trying to feign bravery and accomplish things like walk across the mile high rope bridge between the peaks at Grandfather Mountain or ride a roller coaster with my children without clenching my eyes shut tightly. And I missed the best things. Aside from the spectacular scenery, I missed the looks of utter joy, awe, and amazement on their angelic faces.
During my Montessori teacher training, one of the Montessori master teachers who presented lessons to us had the intensely irritating habit of closing his eyes when he spoke. I was often so focused on that fact, that what he said didn’t really register at all. Instead of being awed and inspired, I was chafed and ticked. It really bugged me! As a teacher, the moments that keep me going are those sacred seconds during which I look into a student’s eyes and see the proverbial light bulb switch on. The “eureka ” signal, the “I get it” look, the “what you just said makes a difference to me” gaze is what makes me continue to turn the key on my classroom each morning. If my eyes were shut, I could never receive those gifts.
How many incredibly amazing, interesting, unique, and beautiful things do we miss each day as we blindly follow our routines and don’t truly open our eyes to the ever-changing world around us? Ask a child and you’ll get your answer. It’s not only that their eyes are at a different level; it’s that they’re not under the impression that they’ve seen it all before. As adults, sometimes we think we’ve “been there and done that” and sadly, unconsciously, believe we’ve seen it all. There’s nothing new under the sun. We couldn’t be more wrong.
At 43, I conquered my fear of heights by jumping out of a plane, eyes wide open at 13,000 feet. For me, the experience was second best only to that of giving birth. And that’s a whole other story! If we greet each day eyes, heart, and mind wide open, the universe will shower us with gifts galore. All the best things will become visible and apparent. All the things we need to help get us through the dark moments of our lives, are there waiting to be discovered.
I wish you tomorrows of eyes wide open.
Peace and Love