You see what you look for.
A few years ago, my aunt traveled from the south to visit my family.
As we neared my home, her eyes became large.
She was amazed at the brilliant color of autumn in New England.
Later that day, I decided to take a walk to find her some leaves.
Vibrant, pristine ones that she could press and take home.
So I headed down a well-worn path in the nearby woods.
One overflowing with recently fallen leaves.
As I walked along, I attentively searched for the perfect leaf.
But all I could see were decay and various shades of brown.
I was dumbfounded.
In an area overflowing with foliage, I couldn’t find one worthy leaf.
But after about ten minutes of looking, something strange occurred.
The forest floor started popping with Crayola color.
Burnt orange, brick red, lemon yellow.
And the leaves seemed to be rising airily from the ground.
As if I were wearing 3-D glasses.
It was an extraordinarily rousing and educational experience.
My old eyes suddenly became new again.
As my brain adjusted to its new environment.
And to its child-like instructions.
The English biologist John Lubbock wrote, “What we see depends mainly on what we look for.”
Where you are and what you attend to conditions what you see.
If you look for beauty, ideas and meaning, you’ll find it.
If you look for data, statistics and shortcomings, you’ll find them.
If you want to see new, you have to experience new.
Now it may take time for your old eyes to adjust to the new world.
So I’d revise Lubbock’s words slightly.
“We eventually see what we look for.”
Stay focused and be patient.
If you’re looking with the right intentions.
And you’re looking in the right places.
The answers will appear.