Just this past October I was visiting a friend in her home in Nyack. The house lies on the hillside with views over the river. As I looked out through the windows I was struck by the immense beauty outside. It was a sunny morning with clear, blue skies. The river lay quiet and shimmered silver. The leaves on the surrounding trees sparkled yellow, red and green in the morning sun, and there were these gorgeous pumpkins and gorges on the table outside. I remember thinking it could have been a scene for an ad.
I took it all in and commented on the beauty, as well as on this one particular unusual looking, large, plump pumpkin on the table. My friend answered me with a comment about the ugly barge in the middle of the river. I looked again, and of course I saw the barge, as I did the first time around, but I did not have any thoughts or reactions about it. It was simply a barge in the large picture of beauty.
At this time my friend had very quickly realized how she was so focused on this barge, that she felt was ruining the view, to the degree that she didn't see anything else looking out the windows. And we smiled at that together. I found it to be such an excellent example of what we all do so often. We zoom in on the parts of our life that we find challenging, the parts that we don't like, or that cause us pain. And it is easy to zoom in so far, that it's all we see.
This exchange about the barge made me think that our experience of life, in some ways, works just like a camera lens. Most of us have to remember to zoom out on a regular basis, in order to see the larger picture. And how easy it is to get lost in a small part of our lives if we don't. I also realized that zooming out is directly linked to my gratitude practice. When I pause to look at the many great gifts I have in my life, I am literally zooming out.
There are times when the barge becomes so large that no matter how far we zoom out, there is nothing but the barge to see. And that's when faith comes into the picture for me. Faith as in having complete trust in something, in this case, in change itself. That with time, the beauty surrounding that ever so large barge, even though we can't see it, will start to seep back into the picture frame. And as we then start to get glimpses of it, we can once again deliberately choose to look for it.