...humming a familiar tune can help
Some time ago an admired writer acquaintance told of a friend of hers who took her young family to the circus -- in those days "the biggest show on earth". She was a perceptive mother and made sure the seats for the family were on the aisle and near an exit. If the youngest member of her brood, a four-year-old boy, became frightened, their departure could be quick and inconspicuous.
Watching the youngster surreptitiously as the circus began with great fanfare, she saw no evidence of alarm. Suddenly though, wide-eyed, he sat forward; chubby hands like star-fish clasped between his knees. At the moment when all three rings of the circus were fully active, ringmasters' whips cracking, animals roaring, the band playing so loud that even Gabriel's trumpet could not have been heard, the little boy unclasped his hands and frantically turned to his mother. With his mouth pressed to her ear he asked urgently: "Mommy, sing Three Blind Mice."
Caught up in the kaleidoscope of color, movement, sound, all strange and wonderful, the little fellow had suddenly needed something familiar. He wanted to "touch base", as the saying goes. When his mother obliged him by putting her face to his ear and singing a few phrases, she saw him sigh and felt him relax as he contentedly turned his face back to centre stage, sliding again to the edge of his seat and clasping his hands between his knees.
This little circus boy story and the Three Blind Mice have stayed with me because it seems to be a perfect evaluation of relativity and our need to establish it.
I recently experienced one of those days when you feel that you are totally out of step with the rest of the world. From the time my feet hit the floor in the morning I felt the lack of synchronization. Bad news lashed out at me as I picked up the newspaper. As I set out in my car, honey-do list for the day in hand, traffic whizzed past me and at me. Once in parking lots I was met with nothing but blank stares as people engaged in 100-yard dashes to where, I don't know. The bulk of the day was spent misplacing things and struggling with unfamiliar computer applications and the mind-boggling mystery of The Information Highway. At the end of the day my mind was still spinning and my body was numb.
It was only on my way to bed that night that I realized I had been carrying in my mind, and sometimes humming, Three Blind Mice. When the world is too much for us, too fast and overwhelming, it is good to have a familiar stabilizer tucked in the back of our minds. It helps keep one's feet on the ground and balance in the centre.