Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The blind men, the elephant and friendship...


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...

So...

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.

We shared.

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.

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29 comments:

Mardell said...

You have no idea how bad I wanted to come! Sigh...hopefully next year. ♥ I knew you chicks would have the grandest time. Now tell me...who was the rowdiest?! I have a sneaky suspicion there might have been more than one...? Hmmmm.

RACHELLE said...

i have experienced this (on a smaller level) when planning a getaway for 6 women. they were all women i adore and love but they didnt know eachother.

thee same exact epiphany came to my mind..."let go and trust each of these women you love".

we had a wonderful time and new friendships were forged that day.

it was magic!

i had forgotten all about that wonderful gift i experienced...so thank you for sharing your thoughts and reminding me!

I am so happy that you were able to all get together.

that is truly wonderful!

shell

www.gypsylemonade.blogspot.com

Sh@KiR@ CK said...

That my lovely friend, Jenny is a wonderful, heart felt, humbled , thankful and glorious post of FRIENDSHIP and KINSHIP.

I am so happy for you and your friends.
It is GREAT and MAGICAL when women
behave like mothers to each other , isn't it?
We are such born nurturers, loving and caring.

Such great spirits!
Now I understand the interview. lol

Bless Mr. Jenny for coping with all the ladies and Mrs. Jenny for being such an incorrigibly glamorous hostess!

Sorry I am late this week,
Been really busy shopping for colleges
With my daughter! Lol

Happy MM!

Have you a WONDROUS WEEK!

hugs
shakira

If you would like to visit me, Memories,After School and The Something Meme

Linda said...

What a wonderful magical time you had together. I love the trust each other to let it work out and it will.
So happy you all had a great time.

~Kristen~ said...

I am so happy for you all that you were able to do this!!!!! I will forever be grateful to that message board for bringing us all together!!! The women I met are some of the most treasured people in my life!!! I KNOW you all had an amazing time because I have had the pleasure of meeting a few of the ladies that you met with last weekend, and others from our time at that board. They are memories I will have forever and treasure forever!!1 Someday I WILL meet you, too, Miss Jenny!!! I just know it!!! xoxo

Amy said...

Jenny you have captured our time together beautifully! I was worried I would come across as one-dimensional - (i.e., sweet. shy. quiet.) It's so wonderful to meet my sisters of the heart and know they accept me. Love me. SEE me.

Thank you for this!
~ Amy

Amy said...

ummm...not that it's all about me or anything!!LOL :)

Country Wings in Phoenix said...

Oh Jenny...
It sounds as though you and your friends had a wonderful time together. What stories you must have shared, and crafts and laughter. I am so tickled for you.

Hope you have a beautiful day.

Country hugs and much love, Sherry

Theresa said...

Sounds wonderful! Nothing better than time with friends, new and old! Glad you all had fun with the elephant:) Have a blessed day!

marie said...

Oh Jenny Matlock ~ I so enjoy your daily tangents. I seldom comment but regularly read and I have to tell you ~ your blog simply delights me!

Experiencing an elephant is sounds like such fun ~ thanks so much for making days a little brighter, hearts a little lighter, and smiles a little wider. You do it so well!

w said...

that's deep.

also. i kinda wanted the blind man parable to be a joke i could retell. but alas. it's a though provoking story that would just sound weird coming out of me. word.

Sue (Someone's Mom) said...

I love this! I have a group of friends that met in the past 3 or 4 years on a writer's website. We created a private place where we can "talk" and we have become such good friends over the years. We exchange Christmas cards and gifts, we share the good and the bad, we talk on the phone and some of us have met in person...the rest of us will eventually. We are a small group.

I would never have thought that I could consider people I hadn't met in person to be dear friends...I was wrong.

Julie Harward said...

Sounds just wonderful to me...would have loved to be part of it! I keep thinking I should have such a gathering here...it is so pretty here in red rock country..15 min away from a national park and a house with 4-5 extra empty bedrooms...it would be fun! Come say hi :D

Coralie Cederna Johnson said...

I'm loving that elephant! A great story, Jenny! Thought provoking, real, and wonderful! Have a great day! (See you back here Thursday!)

Sue said...

Geez...so SO SO about little sweet bitty AMY!!! I adore her...and I adore you, Miss Jenny!

I hate reality!!

Diana said...

I am in a blog circle we refer to as "The Village" and believe me me all have been the Village Idiot at times!
We also talk of all meeting one day and I would just love it! You are lucky Jenny! Love Di ♥

Too Many Hats said...

Love it! I think we women get a bad wrap/rap(???) sometimes. I think people willing to travel a distance to get together are coming with good hearts and anytime we lead with good, true hearts than goodness will come.

Mighty M said...

What a wonderful post! Sounds like a very great group and I am thrilled you were able to spend some time with some of them in person!! :)

Maggey and Jim said...

What a glorious time. Your words say so much and makes me feel apart of the whole thing.I am glad it went so well and all of these bloggers I have met have been so kind and gracious..
Maggey

Jan @ bobbypinsboardwalk said...

Jenny, I am so glad to meet you! Thank you for stopping by my blog -- it allowed me the opportunity to find you at your blog and be inspired and touched by your elephant experience. I applaud you for being able to back off and let go. I think I would have driven my family off the deep end in preparation for the event. I'm glad you had such a wonderful time and I will surely remember this story. I love to see how human chemistry works.

Mid-Atlantic Martha said...

Oh this sounds like a most wonderful gathering of friends!

Patti said...

that is what life and friendship is all about...how fun!!

Vicki said...

Well, this doesn't surprise me, you always have it together Jenny! Even when you think you don't. So great to have friends. Glad you're one of mine (o:

Betty (picture circa 1951) said...

I'm glad it all went well and you worried for nothing!

{ L } said...

Good parable! And as always...you have the BEST ways of saying things. :)

I have a Big-Little favor to ask you if you haven't already done so...

I'm trying to win a party contest and would love your help! Would you go here: http://thecitycradle.com/party-3-spy-agent and leave a comment at the end of the article? Your comment will give me a vote. Thanks so much! I appreciate it lots. <3

Sares said...

Ho wonderful for you! It sounds like you all had a marvelous time enjoying each other's company and the special talents each lady had to share. Thank you for once again writing a beautiful post, including the blind men and the elephant!

Aunt Amelia's Attic said...

So happy for the wonderful results!

And since I'm leaving this [below] everywhere, I knew you'd not want to be left out.

Ohhhhhh, the blarney that's being spewed in Washington, DC! Email and call your Representatives! Let 'em know to... Vote No on Obama-Care and get to work on jobs, jobs, jobs. Real jobs!

♣♣♣Happy St. Patrick's Day♣♣♣

dEE said...

This time of ours in the land of sunny was just that, sunny. Sunny girls, sunny land, sunny talk, sunny love, sunny caring, sunny everything. And you now describe it with the same sunny. It was fun, wasn’t it?

Becky said...

We are the Chickies,
The mighty, mighty Chickies!
Everywhere we go-o,
People want to know-ow,
Who we are,
so we tell them:
We are the Chickies!

Truly a BLAST, Ms. Matlock!