While I have what I consider to be few good talents, two that continue to surprise and delight me are a freakish ability to spot wildlife, and a knack for finding incredible treasures at insanely low prices. After 25 years together, my husband still counts on me to find where the wild things are, and in my family we joke that finding the next great treasure for next to nothing is my spiritual gift.
They may sound like very different skills, but both are rooted in the same principle. Look for what doesn’t fit. Be on the look out for what is out of the ordinary when compared to the surroundings. Pay attention to the thing that doesn’t quite make sense. A pattern that goes against the grain. What just doesn’t belong.
Do you remember the song One of These Things from Sesame Street? The tune, sung here by Big Bird, was usually accompanied by a grouping of four items, one of which didn’t fit with the others. Young viewers were asked to identify the thing that didn’t belong. It was designed to help kids sort through input, make connections, and draw conclusions. But it is a principle that reaches far beyond Sesame Street, a walk on the wild side, or a wander through the local Goodwill.
On the one hand, it can alert us when we, or someone we love, is in trouble. When we notice that something seems amiss, it is a call to delve deeper. Something that is out of character can signal a cry for help.
On the other hand, when something stands out as different from the rest, it can point us to the possibility that something or someone, is a cut above and worth our consideration.
While I no longer tune into Sesame Street, I always tune in to what doesn’t belong.