Surprised by (Not) Seeing

I pull my vehicle to a stop between two cars at 10:53. Seven whole minutes early, I smugly think. My right hand mechanically twists the key from the ignition and reaches for the ever-important mask before grabbing coffee. I come-to quickly, freeze momentarily. It’s not there.

Retracing my steps, I remember with clarity leaving one mask at home but keeping the other with me. Yet, front pocket, back pocket, main compartment, repeat — Big Blue Mask is not where it’s supposed to be. Emergency Car Mask isn’t doing any better, lying crumpled in the dirty clothes basket, failing its one task. Rummaging through the car and purse again, I realize the irony: Only seven minutes? It’s not enough. But how come it was 45 seconds ago?

Determined not to waste the hour-long roundtrip drive, I reluctantly grab the extra t-shirt from the front seat and fashion it as best I can as a bandana/mask/scarf. It’s thicker than a mask, I reason. My nose is covered. It should be ok. “Ok”? Yes. “Normal”? No. I feel ridiculous. Opening my car door, I’m thirteen again, begging those who pass by not to see me, hoping with every fiber of my being that I don’t stand out. I fly to the entrance, sink quickly into a back-row seat, and thank God for this fabric that made it possible to enter His house today. I forget all about this homemade face covering, remembering why I’m here.

More than forty-eight hours later, I open the passenger-side door to load my things, and I can’t believe what’s wedged between the door and seat.

How could I not see it before? I looked, yes, but — only from where I was sitting. That Sunday morning, I combed through every crevice within arm’s length, yet I failed to reorient myself, to find another vantage point, to try to see differently.

Is it true that we only see what we’re looking for? If we enter with eyes for Beauty — something to be grateful for, something to find joy in — will we see it? Yet if we enter with eyes for Ugly — something to complain about, something to find strife in — will we see that?

Is it possible that Beauty remains, and our perspective is what must change?

What else is right here that I don’t currently see? Surprises abound. Journey with me?

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