The poster had been on the restaurant wall for all of the ten years in which I have been going there on a regular basis. For me it was color, a bright red and orange to fill an empty space. It was more subdued than the art print of the tiger hanging next to it, but its simplicity drew me to it. A French movie title hung over a brilliant rising sun.
About two years ago the same poster stunned me. It took me eight years to notice that the sun was only part of a heart rising out of the ocean. Let me try to explain. Remember that I am visually handicapped. Draw a heart. Notice the two humps on the top of the heart. Place a pencil horizontally through the two humps and then rotate the heart but not the pencil forty five degrees. Imagine that the pencil is the top of the ocean. What you have left is part of one hump above the ocean and the rest of the heart in the ocean. Trust me.
Where had the heart been for eight years? It was a few shades lighter than the sun rising, but it was still pretty clear. I guess that you can only see what you are ready to see.
Two weeks ago I saw the sunrise at Crane Beach. The sun can be seen with a clarity at that time of day. As it rises, its outline is clear. This clarity is diffused as it passes through the sky and through the day. The clarity is there every day, but you have to be awake in order to notice it.
I have a new favorite song, “Another Day” by James Taylor, off his new Hourglass compact disk. The lyric goes, “Another day, another chance that we may finally find our way. Another day, the sun has begun to melt all our fears away.”
Fear kept me from noticing that heart. I was always worrying about one thing or another. I could not see what I was looking at. I was not awake enough. The fear kept me from noticing that each day brought again the opportunity for connectedness with others which makes life worth living.
Hillary Clinton was asked what she has learned from life. She passed along a slogan which she had learned from Dr. Estelle Ramey, a professor at Georgetown Medical School: “I have loved and been loved and all the rest is background music.”
The opportunity to love and be loved can carry us forward through the day if we are awake enough to notice it.