"Another suburban family morning -
Grandmother screaming at the wall.
We have to shout above the din of our Rice Crispies,
We can't hear anything at all.
Mother chants her litany of boredom and frustration,
But we know all her suicides are fake.
Daddy only stares into the distance. . .
There's only so much more that he can take.
Many miles away,
Something crawls from the slime
At the bottom of a dark Scottish lake. . ." - The Police
Carl Jung calls it "synchronicity." The "temporally coincident occurrences of acausal events."
How many people do you walk past in a day? Do you make eye contact? Pretend to stare over their shoulder? Check out what brand of pants they are wearing?
Do you think to yourself, "I don't have time for them, I have my own problems," or do you not think about them at all? Do you ask, "How's it going?" not expecting to hear more than, "fine."
I had lunch the other day with an old friend and all I did was tell her about my problems. . .oh, this kid's friends are weird, that kid's not focused, I have no baseboards in my house, I have gray hair and my parents are going to die some day. Blah blah blah. . . she nodded sympathetically and shared a few of her own grievances and we agreed that we needed to do it again soon.
But since then, I've asked a few people "How's it going?" and gotten some real responses.
A friend's niece is dying. The young woman is estranged from her mother and doesn't know what to do with her six-year-old child.
Another friend's daughter is coming home after being treated for anorexia.
A new friend tells me her mother-in-law once actually tried to kill her. (I've got to hear what Paul Harvey would call "the rest of the story!")
A business acquaintance got a phone call that his wife has a tumor in her lung while I was in his office, then he had to hang up the phone and finish with our business.
People live every day with unimaginable circumstances. We mothers tend to get so wrapped up in our own little dramas that we forget that it could always be so much worse than it actually is. But if we really listen to what other people are dealing with in their lives, it puts it all into perspective.
Today I am going to count my blessings. And I am going to make eye contact with friends and strangers and at least share a smile of hope with them. Because I believe in synchronicity . . .there's always someone else with a monster at the bottom of their loch who could use a little random uplifting.
5 months ago