As the title of my blog suggests, I am supposed to be taking time to “consider the lilies,” to engage in a stock-taking that will help me do better this evening, tomorrow, next week, next year. By its very design, vacation makes this an easy but somehow less satisfying avocation, for isn’t it within the minutiae and muddle of everyday living that the magic is often revealed?
So my Saturday Shot comes from the vantage point of a bench by a bay hundreds of miles away from it all. From this spot, I took all the time I wanted to consider the lilies, to survey what lies ahead and within. In a twinkling, I can go right back. There’s magic in that.
This brought to mind something Anna Quindlen said in her 2000 Commencement Speech at Villanova University – “Look at the view. You’ll never be disappointed.”
I found one of my best teachers on the boardwalk at Coney Island maybe 15 years ago. It was December, and I was doing a story about how the homeless survive in the winter months. He and I sat on the edge of the wooden supports, dangling our feet over the side, and he told me about his schedule; panhandling the boulevard when the summer crowds were gone, sleeping in a church when the temperature went below freezing, hiding from the police amidst the Tilt a Whirl and the Cyclone and some of the other seasonal rides. But he told me that most of the time he stayed on the boardwalk, facing the water, just the way we were sitting now even when it got cold and he had to wear his newspapers after he read them.
And I asked him why. Why didn’t he go to one of the shelters? Why didn’t he check himself into the hospital for detox? And he just stared out at the ocean and said, “Look at the view, young lady. Look at the view.”
And every day, in some little way, I try to do what he said. I try to look at the view. And that’s the last thing I have to tell you today, words of wisdom from a man with not a dime in his pocket, no place to go, nowhere to be. Look at the view. You’ll never be disappointed.
What about you? What do you see when you “look at the view?”