Do you know the parable of the blind men and the elephant?
It is a story of six blind men who visit the palace of the Rajah and encounter an elephant for the first time. As each touches the great animal with their hands they discover various things!
The first touches the side of the elephant. “How smooth!" he declares, "An elephant is like a wall.”
The second blind man puts out his hand and touches the trunk of the elephant. “How round! An elephant is like a snake.”
The third blind man touches the tusk of the elephant with hesitant, exploring fingers. “How sharp! An elephant is like a spear,” he declares with great certainty.
The fourth, fifth and sixth blind men touch the leg, the ear and the tail of the elephant and each announces their discovery. "The elephant is as tall as a tree!" says the first...the elephant "is like a fan" and lastly "the elephant is like a rope."
Each man is certain that his declaration is true. And it is. To him. But each only holds a small piece of the truth.
If they sat down together and talked honestly about what they had felt and what they thought perhaps a broader picture and vision of the elephant would have been created.
But they did not. And that was the end of the parable.
But, you know me.
That certainly wouldn't be enough wordiness for one, single post...
I shall continue...
I have spent the past three days with friends.
We all met almost eight years ago through an unlikely venue...a now defunct message board at an on-line store called Gooseberry Patch.
We have all stayed in touch.
And this past weekend was finally the time to put as many of us able to attend in one place at one time.
Of the forty or so women active in our group, eleven were able to come to Arizona.
Over the years we have met and spent time with each other. Sometimes in ones or twos. Of the eleven able to attend this year there were only two I had never met face to face.
When we started talking about the idea over 6 months ago I really wondered how the whole thing would work out.
Lots of people told me "you are crazy! You can't put that many women together without creating drama and cat-fighting!"
And I was afraid they might be right.
I worried about whether the shy ones would get lost in the shuffle.
I wondered whether my husband and I could, indeed, transport and entertain such a big group of various personalities for such a long time.
I thought about the logistics of airport pick-ups and who shares a room and who has food allergies.
And then I decided to just trust each of us.
We were all friends. Maybe in different ways. But friends.
So...I let go of the reigns and something magical happened.
Those with organizational strengths stepped forward and arranged intricate little schedules that worked. Those with talents offered to teach us things. All of us did whatever we could with kindness, and empathy, and consideration.
And it all came together.
And when WE, as a group, all came together the magic started.
Shy women bloomed...and talented people taught...and quiet people laughed...and rowdy people became even rowdier...and meals fell together...and we transported lots of people from point A to point B with nothing but conversation, giggling, tears, laughter and joy.
And there were no tricks...no illusions in this magic. It was just there.
There was no bickering. No fighting. No undercurrents of jealousy...
And I think we all accomplished something totally mythical.
Truly and honestly.
Our individualities and our strengths...our worries and our hopes...our ideals and our sense of humors.
And we sat down together and talked honestly about what we felt and what we thought and we, together, created a broader picture and vision of an elephant. ...and we created a bigger picture and vision of friendship.
...and that, my friends, is truly how to experience an elephant.