Lift Your Gaze

This morning as I was working out, a memory from years ago showed up. Not long after we were married, Tom and I took our four young daughters back east to visit his family in New Jersey. While there we also spent a couple of days in New York City, cramming in as many touristy things as we could manage, including visits to the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, the Natural History Museum, pizza in Little Italy, the Hard Rock Cafe, Phantom of the Opera, Tavern on the Green, and a trip to the Empire State Building. It was this last experience that popped into my head this morning.

We were on the outdoor observation deck on the 86th floor, and one of my daughters was standing next to me, intently peering through a coin operated telescope out across the urban landscape. “Is that it?” she wondered aloud. “That’s all? That’s Central Park?” Following her gaze, I saw she was focused on a small square of green space, probably a small city park or school playground.

I urged her to lift her gaze just a skosh, and when she did, that magnificent 843 acre park came rushing into view. It was an amazing moment to watch her young face turn from disappointment to wonder, and I’m grateful to have been there to witness it. It would have been so easy to miss.

That moment was then, and is now, a reminder to lift our gaze. To let go of our fixation on the small view, making room for wonder and space for possibility.