A Fresh Pair of Eyes

The most exciting thing I’ve done in quite a while is drive through an automatic car wash.

I know you’re thinking. A carwash is “just a carwash”, but maybe that’s you’ve never driven through one with small kids..

Recently I took my 6- and 2-year-old daughters through an automatic carwash. Just before we drove in, I asked them, “Do you want to sit in the front seat?” Their eyes grew bigger than the steering wheel, and didn’t get smaller till the car was sparkling clean.

We pulled in.

Each pass of the machinery over our heads, it might as well have been a fighter jet shaking the car. This was the most amazing thing they had ever experienced. And somehow, looking at this moment through my daughters’s eyes, I had never experienced anything quite this amazing either.

But it just a carwash, right?

I really shouldn’t get so worked up about something so ordinary. Washing the car is an ordinary part of any ordinary day.

Most days, it’s easy for our eyes to grow dull. We get lulled to sleep by each passing moment, mesmerized like watching a thousand train cars roll by. We wish we could be filled with wonder, but the routine just isn’t all that exciting.

So eventually a carwash becomes, just a carwash.

A sunrise becomes the start of just another day.

“He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.”
– Albert Einstein

But it’s when our eyes are filled with wonder that we feel truly alive.

The rabbi and writer Abraham Joshua Heshel once said, “Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement. …get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted.”

How can we re-ignite that wonder, that amazement with the things all around us that have become commonplace?

Every one of us, on occasion is given a gift. We’re given the opportunity to see our world with a fresh pair of eyes.

This happened to me recently at work.

That morning I went to work, as I do every day. I sat down at my usual desk, sipping my same cup of coffee, wearing my same old shirt and tie, and went about my work. It was just an ordinary day, until a big group of little kids started pouring in through the door. This little swarm of kids was on a school tour of my office!

When they buzzed curiously over to my desk, you know what I want to tell them. “This is just a job, kids. We’re all just working here. Every day. All day. For the rest of our lives. Someday you’ll get one of these too…”

But I couldn’t tell them that, do you know why?

Because when that big group of little kids swarmed around my desk, they were actually coming to offer me and all my co-workers an enormous gift.

An opportunity.

An invitation to see our ordinary office through their innocent, wide-eyed gazes.

So I accepted their offer, and start to see my office – and the work that I get to do every day – as the amazing opportunity that it is.

You and I are given similar opportunities every day. We have the opportunity to see an ordinary moment through a different pair of eyes.

It’s same opportunity that my daughters offered to me as we drove through the carwash.

This is the same invitation that we can offer to others as well.

It’s the invitation that we offer others whenever we choose to see one of a thousand ordinary moments through a fresh pair of eyes.