A friend of my father's who is now a friend of mine - well I wish he was but I never get to see him but when I see him I love talking to him. He's great. And funny. He's especially funny. And I've been to his house, once, and so I am deciding that this constitutes being friends and I was going say that we are friends on Facebook but I checked and he never accepted - ^#*$*@& - but I am friends with his wife there. So she and I are really friends. Facebook makes it so.
Anyway, this friend of my dad's who is my friend - except not on Facebook - he has a snail problem. Not personally but on the pond that his house sits next to. It's a major problem and is ruining the pond. I know this because he explained it to me and my dad when we ran into him in town last week.
We were coming back from a quick shop at the Co-op which is this very cool and healthy store in Great Barrington and there he was, also coming out of the co-op though we did not see him while we were there. And we spent a few (a bit more) minutes talking about his snails.
They are very small snails and are taking over the pond and the problem is that it seems they may not be able to do anything about this. Because there is an organization that protects them. In that very narrow and isolating way that organizations focus in quite often where they only look at that one thing that they care about and do not pay attention to all the other things circle around their priority.
And this got me thinking.
And so I shared this snail challenge with my sister, because we are together again for yet another Monday writing as I am still on this east coast visit to my family and so we are writing this writing together, too.
We were talking about our parents and the challenges they face and how, when you focus in on just that, the challenge of illness or memory loss or age or snails, you often miss the bigger picture of who they are and who we are, too.
We can choose to stay in the muck of it, stay focused on just the snails, or we can pull back and take a meta-view of things. We can see our parents not just as the struggles they are facing now which forces us to then just be in our response to that – our problem solving and strategy generating and reacting and fixing - and instead take that step back and see the fullness of our parents and begin again to experience the trueness of ourselves. As daughters and sisters and friends.
When we chose to step away from the microscope we regain our perspective. And we are then in choice of exactly how we want to see things.
We talk about this a lot. My sister and I. About the choices we have. About the power we really hold in all this. We think, when we are narrowed in on just the snail that all there is is that. But there is so much more.