I’m not a huge fan of heights. Understatement. I detest heights. Even when flying in an airplane, I pretend that I am somewhere else, concentrate on my book or a movie, and choose to forget how very high up in the air I actually am.
But somehow, with coercing from a certain five-year- old and friends, I went on the Santa Monica Pier Ferris Wheel. As the ride swiftly carried our carriage to the very top of the wheel, my eyes glued shut and beads of sweat formed on my forehead. My friend gently nudged me and said, “You really should open your eyes. It is much better when you open your eyes.” And with some very long breaths, I put my fear on hold and looked. She was correct. With the majesty of the Pacific Ocean before me, I could not believe that I had almost missed the moment. My anxiety and nerves paralyzed my will to experience a true vision of beauty. Thank goodness, my friend knew better. Thank goodness, this time, I didn’t miss out.
Midrash reminds us that “No spot on earth is devoid of the presence of God.” Meaning, God may be where we least expect. God may be in the exact moment we choose to look away.
How much of life is missed because we close our eyes? Keeping our head down to read a text while our child is trying to get our attention? Mumbling to a loved one when we are escaping through a newspaper or television show. Focusing on the less important, trivial matters instead of opening our eyes to the beauty that is right before us?
Life is just so much better when you open your eyes.