If you are always looking …

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If you are always looking, you’re not seeing.

Or something like that.

I am sitting on the stoop of the Hobbit House with my bunny slippers, wonder dog, coffee and face pointed to the morning sun. I can see the leaves – orange-speckling – across the parking lot as the sun rises. The birds are singing their songs and Nubbins, the tailless squirrel, has already chattered his greeting. Otherwise, it’s pretty quiet.

Izzy and I have spent more time on this cozy porch in the last two months than we would have in a year or two of pre-pandemic free roaming. It is here that I have rolled around the idea If you are always looking, you’re not seeing while flopped in a squishy chair.

If you are always looking, you’re not seeing.

A bastardized version of Tracy McMillan’s, “love is … when you stop looking and start seeing,” this truth has been scraping my interior in a refinishing kind of way. I’d heard Tracy’s TED Talk as autoplay filled our quiet isolation. Then I Googled her and found a compelling and resilient story and her quote that I remembered wrong, but right for me.

If you are always looking, you’re not seeing.

If you are always looking for love, happiness, purpose, applause, saving graces, the perfect __________, you’re not seeing what is in front of you. Who is in front of you. Who is in the mirror.

Even in a pandemic, the truth is quiet enough to sneak up on us.

I have been looking for all of those things. Everywhere. Pretending not to be looking like a person fleeing a fire and pretending there is no flame or smoke.

This quiet season when the world of opportunity has narrowed focus, truth (and ads for Kate Spade) has made its way in.

If you are always looking, you’re not seeing.

I’ve not wanted to tackle this blog. The dust hasn’t settled on what I’m discovering in this yet, though it – as much as Izzy – has been a constant companion since March. But at 5:30 a.m. this morning, I decided it was time to make the coffee and give it a shot.

If you are always looking, you’re not seeing.

Yesterday, a good man who led many along the Underground Railroad and in and out of transformation, entered hospice. A transplant from New Jersey, Richard Pitts loved … loves. With a gravelly voice, great expectations, a mind that does not cease its wondering and a way with people that sees, hears, knows and then raises the bar for them … Pitts has loved many in Manhattan, Kansas.

Many kids (and their parents) have entered into his Wonder Workshop and left transformed. Standing a little taller. A little more confident and a little less full of themselves. A little more full of wonder and cheekiness.

Richard is someone who sees. I don’t know if he has looked for fame, fortune and fancy bits, but if that’s your goal, why move to northeast Kansas?

He has seen so many people. He has allowed himself to be seen. He has heard people. He has spoken life into my family and reminded us of who we are when fear and frailty does not overcome us.

Not a benevolent grandfatherly type unless that grandfather is from New Jersey and has all the time for you and no time for your dumbassery.

Pitts, this force of community, is in hospice.

Now, we get to show up for this man and his family who kept showing up for us.

He has been fighting one health battle and another in the past few years. He is at the end of his fight. He and his family have devoted themselves to people and not the pursuit of stuff. We have a chance to give back. In a country of medical miracles, he has a large tab.

Cindy has started a GoFundMe to help cover his medical bills. I’m sure this was a tough and gut-wrenching decision. If you can help, here’s the link, www.gofundme.com/f/richard-pitts-medical-bills.

If you are always looking, you’re not seeing.

I haven’t quite figured this thing of looking, but not seeing out. But I have been reminded of what the reverse can be of pursuing a life of seeing and hearing and knowing rather than looking for fame, attention, etc. Seeing, in my experiences of Richard Pitts, means an opportunity to love and lift without looking for what’s in it for me.

This blog has me sighing and tetchy. It’s still an unfinished thought.

An unfinished life. I wasn’t looking to make this an ask on behalf of a friend, but I’m seeing it. If you can help the family, please do. Or help someone beside or inside you. See them for who they are. See them and be willing to be transformed by what, by who you see.

Adventure and Wonder, Friends.


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