The other day, my 6-year-old daughter and her best friend asked me what an optical illusion is. I didn’t have the Merriam-Webster definition, “something that deceives the eye by appearing to be other than it is” at the tip of my tongue so we talked about examples of when you think you see something but your brain knows it can’t be real or vice versa. I showed them the classic example of the picture that is either the young lady with a necklace or an old lady with a prominent chin.
They were fascinated. But of course this is more than a trick for amusement, it’s one of the pillars of our life. As Albert Einstein said, “There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is a miracle.”
It reminds me of a person I knew who believed she had to check on everything that someone did for her otherwise she would be cheated. In one memorable instance, she had left her dog with someone who was staying at her house and became convinced the dog sitter wasn’t walking the dog as far as she claimed. So she devised a series of questions to trip up the dog sitter when she picked her up from the airport. What time does the sun rise this time of year? What is the favorite route that you walk with my dog? How many times does my dog poop on her morning walk?
She was convinced that these questions would help her find the TRUTH which was predetermined in her head as a story that the dog sitter didn’t get up as early and walk as far as she thought.
In the meantime, she completely missed that the dog was safe, happy and healthy and that the dog sitter was willing to drive her to/from the airport, that the dog sitter loved to watch movies and also worked from home so that the dog had almost constant companionship while she was gone.
Because none of that mattered if the dog sitter LIED about the morning walk. No gentle reminders from me or anyone else could change the perspective.
This person might be an anomaly in that she didn’t believe anyone, more or less, in her life. She believed that the only reliable person was herself and everything that she got, had, earned was only because of her personal efforts. There was no idea of grace, coincidence, faith, or even luck.
The rest of us are probably not as extreme but I think what Albert Einstein implies is that it’s a way of seeing. We can’t consistently believe that life is completely up to us in one area of our life (work, relationships, money) without it affecting all the others.
We have to believe in miracles to see them. Whatever we have faith in – be it God, the Universe, optimism, magic – will deliver goodness if we develop our ability to discern it. When we open ourselves up to the possibility that miracles happen in our life, it’s amazing to find how many we see.
As an example, my daughter was sad because her best friend, the one that was with her when asking about optical illusions, is moving at the end of the summer. Then as we worked through that reality, she discovered that a family with three kids that she already knows and likes from school happened to move in one block from us. They’d been up the street for 7 months and we hadn’t even realized until one day we saw them on the street. What a gift! The miracle didn’t save us from having to say good-bye to one friend, but instead it was the gift of new friends.
“Above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” – Roald Dahl
How do you interpret Albert Einstein’s quote? What miracles have you seen lately?
For most posts like this – a little story-telling mixed with philosophy, please visit my personal blog at https://wynneleon.wordpress.com or follow me on Instagram @wynneleon
(featured photo from Pexels)