I almost missed seeing Waldo.
My morning had followed its typical pattern. After dropping off Jared at the middle school, I had driven back across town to Jack's elementary school and parked the car in our usual spot. Together we walked hand-in-hand along the path to his school. Birds were singing as they flitted from tree to tree and the happy sounds of children playing filled the air. We added our voices to the early morning symphony with excited talk of how many - how few - days of school were left. As we shared our mutual relief that the glorious days of summer were just ahead, I scanned the greenbelt for signs of Waldo.
I had thought it would be easier to spy him after the yearly passing of goats had shorn the tall grasses down to nothing more than a dry, rough carpet. I was evidently mistaken as days had passed without a sighting. Then, as we turned left down the path that would lead to the playground, something to the right caught my eye. To the casual observer it would appear to be nothing but one of the many rocks scattered throughout the space. The casual observer, however, would be failing to notice that this one particular rock had ears.
Waldo sat completely motionless. I imagined he was playing a game of hide-and-seek, only with his mottled brown fur he didn't have to try too hard to hide. Indeed, I wondered how many people would walk past and never even notice him.
But that's the way life is sometimes, isn't it?
Wrapped up in our own thoughts, in our own crazy worlds that exist inside our heads, how often do we fail to notice what is right in front of us?
How often do we forget to look?
We want love. We want happiness. We want peace, contentment, success. . .the list goes on and on. We go off in all different directions searching endlessly for the one thing we think we need, the One Thing that will make our life complete. Or perhaps, we sit dejectedly in the corner, convinced that that One Thing will never be ours.
I can't help but think sometimes that we humans make life much harder than it has to be. Maybe, just maybe, we simply need to open our eyes and look, really look, at what is spread out in front of us and recognize that sometimes a rock isn't a rock at all, that what we've been looking for has been right in front of us all along.
How much more peaceful would life be then?