Thursday, May 29, 2008

A few irises~

I complimented a fellow teacher, a young, slim beautiful girl, on her blouse.

She gave me one of those "oh this old thing" comments and said she'd worn it because all her other tops were . . . and here she made some hand gestures around her belly.

I didn't understand at first. I thought maybe she was pregnant, or else feeling nauseous. But no.

She told me she was getting so fat. Told me! Not that I'm FAT fat, but compared to her I'm a mature tree and she's a sapling. I've got some rings on my trunk.

She left and Dave, another colleague, walked by. "She thinks she's fat!" I said shaking my head, although many of my friends felt that way when we were her age. We see pictures of our younger selves and ask, "Why did I think I was fat then? I looked good."

Dave and I got talking about our perceptions of ourselves and how much energy we waste obsessing over minor issues, energy that could be better spent in more productive ways.

"We should just be happy we're healthy," he said.

"Yeah, and not in Burma," I added. Extra padding around the middle pales in comparison to the hardships faced there.

Then he said, "Monday, I was out in the yard when the wind whipped up. My irises were bending and about to snap, so I hustled to stake 'em up tight. And then I thought of all the people in the Midwest whose homes were devastated by the tornadoes. I thought, here I am worrying about a few irises when they've lost everything."

"Iris syndrome," I said. "I'll remember your story next time I start worrying about nothing."

So much of what I worry about amounts to "a few irises."
Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey!~Barbara Hoffman


Wanda said...

Oh Ruth, what a wonderful post. I read it several times, because you way with words just pull me in, and I don't want to leave.

So so so much truth in these words, and how we see ourselves, and how unimportant many of the things we waste precious thinking and worrying about.

Again, thank you for give me a reality check!! I'm going to read it one more time before I click out!!
LOL:) Wanda

Wanda said...

I almost forgot ~~~ that is a beautiful Iris!!!

Janice Thomson said...

Ditto Wanda on everything. We really do waste time worrying about such trivial things. It's almost as if we're not happy unless we are complaining /worrying about something.
Love the lighting on the iris. Beautiful photo Ruth.

Jen said...

Aaah yes. The Iris Syndrome. I like it.

Pauline said...

Still, to notice the irises and to care for them is one thing we can do to add beauty to a torn and bruised world. We may not cure the ills of misguided government or repair a storm-torn countryside with our small acts but to neglect the very things that we can do something about seems as wrong as obsessing about our warped perceptions of ourselves. I agree (in my round about way here) that we should be thankful that at least one blouse buttons and that we have irises that bloom in our backyards.

Carter said...

I'm with Pauline.

What can you do about the horrors all over the world? Maybe give money to some charity, and that is surely worthwhile, but there's a limit to how much you can give. Vote every chance you get for someone you think might improve the plight of the people in our towns, states, and country. Your children, your friends, people you care about--help them if you can.

But worrying about your irises is your job; nobody else will do it for you. One of the great philosophers of all time left a note for all of us about what we should do: "Cultivate your garden!" Figure out just what your garden is first, but your irises add beauty to the world, which we can all enjoy. They are worth worrying about. Me, I'm worrying about my cosmos and marigolds and mandevilla and the rest of the stuff in pots I can see though my glass door.

Summer is a-coming in--Loudly sing cuckoo! Groweth seed and bloweth mead and springs the wood anew--Sing cuckoo!

Bob Sanchez said...

You have it exactly right, Ruth. We can think about floods in Burma, genocide in Darfur--and yes, we should, even though our power is limited. But your back yard is your world. With your care you make it beautiful, and with your camera you share that beauty.

Thank you.

Alice Folkart said...

Haven't we all noticed that when we're 'in the flow,' completely absorbed by our passion(s), we are no longer conscious of our selves - or 'self conscious.' That's probably one of the bonuses of being creative, whether the creating is in the garden, the kitchen, the school room, at the computer, we forget ourselves. And that may be when we become who we truly are, unaware of our shell.

And, as for the irises - good thought. Yes, if our irises are at risk and we can do something to protect them, we should. And, yes, the greater gift from noticing a correspondence between our experience and that of others, is the perspective it gives us.

For instance, I hate cleaning the bathroom, but the job becomes less onerous if I reflect on how lucky I am to have a bathroom, have a bathroom to myself, have working plumbing, etc. Then, the task becomes a joy.

Anyway, thanks for helping us to refocus.


SandyCarlson said...

It's important to keep things in perspective. Your heart for your flowers is like your heart for those who suffer! Thanks for sharing this.

leslie said...

I love that "Iris Syndrome" and will think of that every time I start to worry about something needlessly. I just staked up one of my two irises the other day because it was falling over. I'm just praying that I don't fall over before the doctor can do something about my back.

Rick Bylina said...

Maybe Alfred E. Neumann was a much more savvy sage than we gave him credit for.

"What? Me Worry!"

Iris's need loving too. Stake 'em if you've got 'em.

Lisa said...

I'm with your friends above, and WOW! What gorgeous irises! Beautiful picture, Ruth. :)

Wendy said...

I really enjoyed this post, Ruth.
Captured and held my attention because of the human element.

You've coined the phrase 'Iris Syndrome' that will stay with me. A beautiful and gentle reminder of where our priorities should lie.
Thank you.