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Keeping gold stars out of reach

Have you ever gone back to something that seemed much bigger in your childhood memory than it does now? That tiny apartment was once big enough for all of the cousins to form a single file line on the living room carpet at the annual family sleepover. Now it seems like an imposition not to check into a hotel suite with a giant king size bed all to yourself. 

How about the school halls that towered above us so high, we would have jumping contests to see who could touch the top of the doorway on the way out? Those gold stars on the ceiling are no longer in heaven, but perhaps just too much within reach to warrant trying. 

And, the giant aquarium glass against which we pressed our noses to get a closer look at the sharks, sting rays and seals waving back at us until the chaperones pried us away for lunch time? The only appetite we had was for one more glance and chance to let out a squeal as our eyes met with the rainbow fish we had only read about in those shiny books. Today we are too busy taking selfies to practice our whale dialect with the native speakers.

What scares me more than the new view from my painful 3-inch wedges is the shrinking sense of wonder for all of the greatness that once was. The irony of adulting is that we can discover and uncover and have our minds blown by the cosmos anytime we want, and yet there is never enough time for that curiosity in trying to meet our own desire to be the greatness rather than admire it from behind the glass, like tiny specs should. 

Omid Safi calls this The Disease of Being Busy: "What is this haal that you inquire about? It is the transient state of one’s heart. In reality, we ask, “How is your heart doing at this very moment, at this breath?” When I ask, “How are you?” that is really what I want to know."

I'll go one step further to ask, what is your state of awareness, of wonder, of recognizing your utter insignificance against the infinitely draping backdrop around you?

Image Credit: Will Wu