If You Look Too Close You’ll Miss It

Photo Courtesy of Flickr

Each summer since I was seven, I’ve spent a week in July at a camp. First as a camper and now for many years as a staff member. In recent years I’ve found it helpful to take a walk along the beach to clear my head and prepare for what is usually a scorching hot day with hordes of screaming children. I wouldn’t trade any of my days there for the world though.

Part of those walks has consisted of picking up beach glass. Pieces of a glass bottle that have had their sharp edges washed away by the water of the lake and the sand of the beach.

I could start into how we are like pieces of beach glass, constantly being molded by our surroundings, over time having the jaggedness smoothed until we are something worth collecting, but alas that is not where this post is going.

My cousin Sheena, ever a lover of the nostalgic and sentimental, is always disgusted when she sees me coming back up from the beach because she knows that I’ve got a handful of 10 or 20 pieces of glass, while she toils on the beach to find 2 or 3 pieces.

This past summer she asked if she could join me on the beach some morning to see what it was that I was doing to be able to come back with so much more glass than her. I always enjoy my time with Sheena, so I gladly obliged her request.

There’s no real secret or trick to finding the pieces of glass. As I’m walking along they just have a different look than the stones or pebbles on the beach, so I just walk over and pick them up.

When I got down to the beach with Sheena I noticed that our walking pace was much slower than I was used to. It was because she would see me stop to pick up a piece of glass or two, then she would stop and scour that area figuring that there had to be more in that area.

I felt as though I was picking up all of the easy pieces and leaving Sheena with the scraps, so I told her to walk ahead of me, so I could observe her technique and allow her the opportunity to pick up any obvious pieces.

A little further up the beach Sheena stopped and was sifting through some stones on the beach, I didn’t want to say this, but I had to. “Sheena, are you going to pick up that piece of glass that’s between your feet or can I have that one?”

She was so focused on the small area in front of her that she didn’t notice the piece of glass between her feet.

Isn’t life the same way sometimes? You’re so focused on solving the problem at hand that you can’t see that the answer is right in front of you.

Sometimes we just need to take a step or two back, get a bigger picture view of the situation and like a piece of beach glass in amongst the stones, when we’ve trained ourselves to pick out the shinning piece of glass, the answer will be there.

What do you need to step back from?


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