When my twenty-seven year old nephew arrived at the family barbeque last week, he greeted me with a hug and a fond memory. “Hi, Aunt Sue. Remember when we used to play team hide and seek?”

I was instantly brought back to a time when we were huddled closely together, mapping out our winning strategy, which really only meant that I would ask him where he thought we should start looking. His eyes would sparkle, words would tumble out of him faster than I could catch them, and he would say: “I bet they are hiding…” He was uncannily right almost always which was why I made sure to be his teammate.

That bright, articulate, exuberant little boy took a left turn in his teenage years, experimented heavily with drugs, and in his early twenties was diagnosed with schizophrenia. The magical child is still in there but is now haunted by dragons and demons of the uncontrollable kind.

I am endlessly intrigued by the mysteries and magic that make up this thing called life. We can never know the true depth of what is housed within another.
At first glance, this handsome twenty-seven year old, well-dressed in a blue shirt, tie and a well-fitted sports coat, could be any up and coming young business man, husband, father, and fully participating member of our community.

Instead he lives on the fringes of life, with normalcy just out of reach. The only alternative available to keep him from harm is medication that shackles him to a sleepwalking version of the exuberant little boy of yesterday.

The nursery rhyme that states that “when he is good, he is very, very good but when he is bad, he is horrid” says it all. His behavior, without the meds, is unpredictable and erratic. His immediate family lives in a perpetual state of hyper-vigilance and free-floating anxiety. If he goes off his meds or runs out with no immediate replacement, the war zone returns.

We can never know at a glance the depth of challenges, worries, fears, sorrows, joys, talents, and triumphs that inhabit an individual life. We can never fully know another. Nor can we know ourselves definitively.

The mystery and the magic is that our lives are not a constant. A life cannot ever be captured and contained in a box called certainty.

For a few moments, as we smiled into each other’s eyes, my nephew and I were transported back in time and remembered an experience we created together. We brought it back to life and savored the experience a second time.

Life seems to be more like a kaleidoscope then a linear line of moments strung together in a neat and tidy row. The experiences tumble together and freeze for an instant into a one of a kind design that will never be repeated in exactly the same way.

When seen with a dose of whimsy, imagine that we take ownership of the power to reconfigure a memory, whether judged as positive or negative, into a neutral creation that has our signature emblazoned on it, complete with bragging rights if we so choose. These experiences take on a new patina. Instead of being a comedy or a tragedy, a disaster or a mishap, our life becomes a work of art and we become a consummate artist instead of a hopeless, helpless victim of circumstances beyond our control.

If we could see each other and ourselves as a reality to be fully experienced rather than as a problem to be fixed, figured out and solved, we would free ourselves from the view of our lives as mundane.

If we could make the creative leap and adopt the vision that our life experiences are like precious stones that are creating beautiful designs with each turn of the wheel, we would see the face of God everywhere we looked.

May we each quietly and intentionally decide that we are indeed blessed with kaleidoscope eyes that are activated today and stay with us into our tomorrows.

Author's Bio: 

Susan McNeal Velasquez, a Master Facilitator, has been writing and producing personal development seminars for over three decades. With over 45,000 hours of facilitation experience, she is dedicated to enhancing personal solidity and provides a stimulating environment that produces long-term transformational gains.