Sometimes, the very thing you’re looking for is right in front of you.
We are curious creatures: Some, more than others. We are seekers – of information, entertainment, stimulation. We look for bargains. We pursue the truth. We look for love. We search for happiness. There are times, I believe, that the hunt becomes more important than the goal. We get so wrapped up in the process that we lose sight of that which we seek.
Recently, at work, my partner and I worked a case where we had few leads. We are charged with finding extended family members of children who have been placed in foster care. We spent hours utilizing our fancy (and expensive) search engines and databases. Our oversized monitors displayed lots of dead ends. Family members we reached out to by phone were not helpful and calls went unreturned.
In desperation, we decided to take a road trip and check out an address that kept surfacing for an aunt. She was home and agreed, reluctantly, to speak with us. We attempted to impress her with our fancy, computer generated genogram (diagram of the family tree), despite many empty spaces where contact information should have been.
She asked if we had looked in the phone book. My partner and I successfully resisted the urge to roll our eyes. She then produced the whitepages – from 2014. Yup – an actual made-from-trees, paper book. It was like looking at a dinosaur. Much to our professional horror, she then proceeded to read aloud the addresses and telephone numbers of several extended family members in the area.
Duh. She schooled us, right there on her front porch. We were humbled, to say the least. Neither of us had thought to use the oldest and most reliable resource of all. We retreated to our office, grateful for the information, but with our tails tucked firmly between our legs.
The lesson is this: If you are a seeker, start close to home. Look first at what has worked for you in the past. If it’s happiness you crave, look within yourself. If it’s love you desire, take a good look at the people already in front of you. If you need a job, go back to what you know. Follow your instincts. Follow your heart. Work outward, from there.
Don’t neglect the obvious. That which you seek might be within you. Or, it may be right in front of you.