When I was a kid, I would listen as my father recalled his favorite Peanuts cartoon. I cannot tell you how many times I overheard:
So, there’s this Peanuts cartoon where Charlie Brown and Lucy are lying on a grassy knoll and Charlie Brown asks Lucy, “Lucy? What do you see when you look at the clouds?” She responds, “Oh, Charlie, I’m glad you asked… Over there I see the Sistine Chapel, where in 1508, Michelangelo was commissioned by Pope Julius II to paint his masterpiece. And that cloud over there looks like the Pennsylvania State House where, in 1776, the Second Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence. What do you see, Charlie Brown? What do you see when you look up at the clouds?” A puzzled-looking Charlie responds, “Well, I was gonna say a ducky and a horsey, but I’m not sure anymore.”
I used to think that was a pretty funny story, but I laughed at my dad’s retelling of it, not the cartoon itself. I didn’t understand Peanuts humor when I was young, and I sure didn’t understand perspective.
I get it now.
I’ve always been very proud of myself for seeing things differently… applying more of my creativity to situations and things so that my perspective seems “better” than other’s (to me). I think I might have even muttered the words: we shouldn’t limit our perspectives to what’s obvious and pedestrian (OK, I probably didn’t use the word “pedestrian”)…
I have often taken the uppity stance that we should find a perfect vantage point from which to view the world, our lives, our families, our business and our relationships… we need to be more like Lucy…
I am actually striving to be more like Charlie Brown. Why do we have to over complicate things? Why are we always trying to do things and say things and create things differently, more intricately, more “out there” and edgy?
If we’re focused on making folks see things that aren’t there (or see things that are there, only “better”)… we run the risk of muddying even our own vision of what’s real.
Then again, “reality” is all about perspective and where we are and how we’re able to process what’s around us. And then things change with every slight drift of wind. So, I guess we just need to be willing to change with them. Or not, maybe.
Crap. Now I forget what I was trying to say.
Lucy wasn’t wrong to see the Pennsylvania State House in the clouds, but let’s not lose sight and forget that duckies can be pretty neat, too.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, for sure. But how much richer might our perspectives become if we can see and then focus on the miraculous in the mundane?