See the lovely photo of snuggles and love up above? Totally symbolic of human connection and joy, yes? Well, it is for me at least.
And there is more.
A few weeks back, I was cleaning out the van post my return from Calgary. I pulled a few things out of the back of a seat pocket and found this magazine clipping.
“Aww… that’s adorable!” I chirped to myself. “One of my kiddos cut this out for a collage at camp. They must really value the connection with us! Kiddo and parent loving one another. And appreciating diversity too! Hooray! We’re doing GREAT at this parenting thing.” Granted not every single word of this went through my head but it was the gist of the feeling I got in seeing it… as well as the assumptions that I made about the meaning behind it.
And in this moment of parenting bliss, I happened to flip the image over:
My brain snagged like the tape of a cassette.
“Okay, so that’s different than what I thought this was.”
And then a smile of seeing more and being busted out (once again) of my “I know all” box.
Whichever kiddo this was saw something totally different than I did. Maybe my kid saw a furry puppy and thought “cuddly.” Maybe she saw the dog and thought “I want that.” Maybe he saw the eyes and included the dog on his “things I never want to meet in a dark alley” collage. I can make a bunch of guesses as to what attracted said Manetti child to this image but I don’t really know. It is the mystery and beauty of them being them in that moment. And my attraction to the opposite side of the image is the mystery and beauty of me being me in this moment.
Same shape, same cut out, entirely different foci. Kiddo saw what he or she needed to. And I saw what I needed to.
And so it goes in this life. Each of us seeing the moment as we alone see it. Adding our own meaning, our own judgments, our own criticisms. And perhaps spending time in the very same moment with someone who sees a fully different picture in the same frame. Sharing time and space but each creating our own stories.
Hanging out together as we create our stories for this life.
Curious and yet oh so beautiful, isn’t it? Over seven billion people and over seven billion truths depending upon how a person’s context leads their attention. And to have the invitation to step back and see another’s meaning of a moment, well, that is a bit magical in how it can expand our ability to connect, love and learn.
There is always more to see. Always.
Take good care,