Monday, February 7, 2011

Eye of the Beholder

  My friend request was accepted by an old bud from my El Paso years.  His name is Chris.  He was in a lot of my little home movies.  He would play a zombie, a victim, a thug or any other character my mind created.  Hat's off to him for being such a trooper!  Funny story about him: My parents were driving him, my sister and myself to have some dinner one day.  Chris was sitting in the back on the driver's side.  The sun was hitting him in the eyes the whole way there and he didn't like it.  We were planning on going to the mall after dinner, so at the restaurant, we decided that he could sit on the passenger side this time.  He did, but the direction we were driving caused the sun to be in his eyes again!  It doesn't end there.  At the mall, we decided that he could sit between my sister and me on the way home.  He did, and this time, homeward just happened to be in the direction of the sun so for a third trip he had the sun in his eyes the whole way!  Sorry, Chris, I just had to tell them that one.
  So anyway, I just finished reading Friendship With God last night.  One of the many wise things said in the book was, "The soul is that which beholds beauty even when the mind denies it."  What that tells me is that I can find the perfection in all the bullshit I've put my family through and what I've been going through.  My wife says it's like a tapestry.  Once you step back from the weaving, you'll see the full beauty of the big picture.  Right now I just happened to be mired in the black threads.
  There was a cartoon in Mad Magazine years ago that always stuck in my head as incredibly deep, sad and beautiful at the same time.  In the first panel, a little girl comes home from school and tells her parents that she's going to be in a school concert.  She needs to be dressed like an angel.  Subsequent panels depict her and her parents buying cloth, props, sewing materials and craft supplies and then frantically putting the costume together to meet the deadline of the performance.  The last panel shows the little girl on stage in her ornate and spectacular outfit among a sea of children dressed in plain white robes, paper wings and pipe cleaner halos.  The parents are sitting in the audience with sweat dripping down their faces.
  When I first saw the cartoon as a child, I mistook the beads of sweat for tear drops.  I took that to mean that, despite their child being surrounded by a sea of angels, they only had eyes for their special angel.  For years, whenever I thought about that cartoon I would cry.  Even now, I had to interrupt my typing to wipe my eyes.  I searched and hunted for that cartoon for well over a decade.  I happened upon it once at a used book store.  I finally realized that those were beads of sweat, not tear drops.  The cartoon was showing that the parents were tired from having exerted more energy than they had needed to.  I put the magazine down and have never looked at it again.  I much prefer my idea of what that cartoon was about.  It has more meaning to me that way.
  Right now, I'm buying materials and assembling a life for my family and me.  One of these days, I'll sit back and adore the beauty of the special angel I've helped create.  Yes, there will be sweat, but more importantly, there will be tears of joy when we gaze upon the tapestry.  What are the threads in your life?  Will you seek to view the breathtaking larger picture or drown in a tangled web of threads?

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