A recent trip has me thinking a lot about the expression “Things are looking up.” This is not a phrase I ever use myself because, like other optimists, I usually find glimmers of hope in challenging situations. In the past few weeks, two things happened that have shifted my perspective to one of even greater optimism, and have given me an appreciation for the practice of literally looking up.
For nearly six months, our family has been adjusting to life without my Dad. Our grief comes in waves – days and sometimes even weeks apart, but as fresh and as heavy as it was when Dad first crossed over. On one of those sad days, I was taking a walk and stopped for a moment to look up at the sky. I stared for a long time at the tops of the trees that surrounded me. They looked so different. They were lush from the many downpours of our rainy summer, and they moved slowly in the gentle breeze. The next afternoon, when I looked up, I noticed the beautiful pale moon in the bright afternoon sky. It was a wonderful and unexpected gift.
A couple of days later, I was driving home from my Mom’s and as I made one of the last turns of the drive, I saw a magnificent rainbow across the sky. The beauty of it brought me to tears. As I drove up the main street of our small town, the rainbow was directly in front of me. I could barely take my eyes from it, and as I glanced around to check for a place to pull over and park the car, I noticed someone walking. The rainbow was right there, directly in front of her, too, but her eyes were focused on the screen of her mobile phone. “Look up,” I thought, “Look up at that magnificent rainbow!” And then my attention turned back to my appreciation of the gift of the rainbow, the only one I have seen this year. The question that stayed with me until the rainbow faded away was this – How many precious moments am I ignoring all around me because I am not looking up, not looking around as toddlers do, with the certainty that wondrous gifts await at every turn. They do.