So, I awake this morning to the pittery pattery sound of raindrops lovingly bathing my tender young hostas and other deer candy plants with nourishing, life-sustaining moisture. The mental picture that arises is one of pure pleasure in the sensation of that most welcomed rain. If plants could smile, theirs would be contagiously happy. I can’t help but smile for them.
Never mind that the rain is washing away the stinky deer repellent; I can always apply more. And while that kind of bath may not make those plants so contagiously happy, they’ll surely feel safer and more confident of surviving to adulthood.
I make my way to the computer room. Well, first I detour to the kitchen. Caffeine in hand, I fire up the computer and summon Facebook to report on anything I’ve missed lately. And while most of it is essentially inconsequential to me, I realize the importance those posts hold for the writers, and I honor that.
I scroll. Then I spy a status update:
“What a lovely first morning at [the] conference,” a friend writes. (Yes, I can hear the irony ringing out, especially that word, “lovely.”)
“It is pouring down the rain…! Ugh! I hope it lets up before we have to head [out].”
But it’s the comment by another person underneath this status update that pulls a sharp bark of laughter from me.
“It was good to see you yesterday.”
Oh, it’s rich, isn’t it? My friend posts a darker, proverbial complaint about the weather, slightly negative in tone, while the first commenter appears to ignore that status update altogether with a cheery, upbeat message. Weather? What weather?
But there’s more. A few hours later, a second commenter weighed in:
“… Maybe it will wash away the pollen.”
Oh, this is a great Quantum Flirt for me, if I allow myself to consider it. And I do, which leads me to two messages, making it a double whammy! What I note at first is this:
What a stark illustration of how perspective matters! Sure, we can choose to face our day happily or funkily (and if that’s not a word, it should be). We can choose to focus on the positive or the negative. Neither is wrong; they’re just different. When they come face to face, as they did on my computer, it tends to drive home the notion that we always have a choice on how we approach life.
When it rains, it sometimes pours. The life-giving, plant-loving, pitter patter of nourishing rain that I experience this morning is the same unwelcome, plan-changing, purely cold wetness that my friend experiences. It’s the same beneficial, pollen-fighting substance of Commenter 2 and the apparently inconsequential issue of Commenter 1. It’s all a matter of perspective, of where each of us stands in the moment.
· For me, the rain is welcome, pleasant, useful, sensual, and soothing.
· For my friend, the rain is unwelcome, cold, dreary. It dulled an otherwise pleasant start to a conference. We’ve all been there, lamenting the dampening effect of rain on planned activities.
· For Commenter 2, the rain is a fact of life, but beneficial. We’ve all been there, too, scanning the horizon for rain in times of drought or when nature sweeps its pollen-laden dust bunnies into our noses.
· For Commenter 1, the rain simply isn’t on the radar. Yes, we’ve all been there, so absorbed in some activity that weather doesn’t even register.
Fast forward a few days. I’m still captivated by this exchange. Scrolling through my Facebook feed like some addict, I finally run it down. Fresh eyes spur fresh perspectives, and voila! I unravel yet another meaning lurking around the edges.
The incongruity of the initial comment (good to see you) to the subject of the post (doggone rain) is jarring and fueled my Quantum Flirt at first – the meaning of which unfolded into a great illumination about perspectives and choices. But looking back, I suddenly realize it’s perhaps the lack of relationship that’s conveyed here (although I would imagine that’s certainly not the intent).
See, comment 1 jumps out at me because it seems to ignore relationship. There is no real give and take there. There’s no nod to my friend’s rainy face. I liken it to someone walking into an ongoing conversation and completely changing the subject without first joining the current topic.
Relationship evokes the notion of a give-and-take connection. Me AND you, with all of our baggage, rants, pleasures, friendships, celebrations, and momentary perspectives. That’s shared stuff. And when we share – our moods, our comments, our status updates – we expect that other(s) will acknowledge us where we are and we will acknowledge them where they are. Maybe it’s inconsequential to you, but it matters to me. And if I matter to you – if our relationship matters to us – then that’s just how it’s supposed to work. Give me a nod, and I’ll do the same for you.
I think there’s a lesson in there for relationships. It’s not about me, and it’s not about you. It’s about US. And when it’s about us, it’s about honoring, listening to, interacting with, and communicating with (not to) another person.
Actually, to be more correct it’s about honoring the “us” that is, indeed, a separate entity altogether. I believe that if we think of “Relationship” as a living, breathing thing, we make the best perspective shift of all.