Amazing Parents

Sometimes it\’s AMAZING. Sometimes it\’s just A MAZE.

Leaving my line to define my plane

I was lying in bed last night, thinking.  Just random thoughts coming in and flying out even quicker.  I was thinking of my friends and of my  books and places I’d like to go and how I’m going to fix my house.  Randomly, I remembered that day at the coffee shop, in the little town where I grew up.   Our table was wiggly and we spilled our coffee.  I asked him, “Why do tables have four legs anyway?”

He said, “Huh?”

“Well, three points define a plane,” I said.

He just looked at me funny.  Sometimes he says I’m crazy.  Sometimes I think he’s crazy.  Finally he simply said, “Yes.”

So here’s why that’s important: because I was lying in bed last night thinking…..about everything.  About this past year and everything I’ve been through.  I’ve been lied to.  I’ve been left.  I have seriously been hurt like I’ve never been hurt before.  And I hate writing that.  I hate even thinking that.  Because somewhere in me I don’t really believe that.  Because right now I feel fine.  In fact, better than fine.  I am happier now than I have been in 3 decades.  So it’s hard to remember the nights I spent curled up in a ball, crying into the covers, asking “why???”.  That memory seems so vague all of a sudden.

And I guess the thought I had last night is that perspective is strange.  It’s so crazy…so undefinable…so whimsical.  One minute it’s one thing, the next minute it’s another.  It depends on who you are, on where we are.  It depends on every experience we’ve had so far in our lives.  And it depends on where we are in the moment.

So it was dark and there were shadows on the wall.  I was lying in bed, down comforter crisp and cold.  I lay motionless, staring at these two chairs up against the wall.  And I thought to myself that if I had never seen a chair before, I would think that you either get this one or that one.  That there were only two types of chairs in the world.   Only two choices.  And I thought, “Hmm, if there was even one more chair, I would realize that it wasn’t just this one or that one….and I might wonder if there were more out there…more choices…Hmm….”  And then I fell asleep.

Three points define a plane.  The thing is, they cannot all exist on the same line.  Very interesting….

You cannot define your plane without leaving the path you are on.  It takes that other point somewhere else in space in order to gain perspective on where you really are.  It takes that third point in space to say, “Yes, I am right here.”  And I am fine.

So my point here is only this: Things aren’t just one way or another.  There is always another point to be found, in fact, an infinite amount of them.  Maybe you can’t see it.  Maybe you don’t believe it’s out there somewhere.  But science doesn’t lie.  That point is there somewhere.  And when you find it, you will have a table — sturdy, steady, where coffee doesn’t spill.  That third point will give you perspective on where you’ve been before, and better yet, on where you are right now….and where you’d like to go from here.

Just know that when your table is wobbly, look for your third point in space.  Reach out for it.  Don’t just stay stuck on the same path you’ve always been on.  You might believe in symmetry, but you have to believe in trigonometry, too.  Your third point will be there and it will save you.  Because you will suddenly realize it’s not just this way or that.  You will have a new perspective and for the first time you’ll see a million opportunities ahead.  Your third point will define your plane, and that’s what will make you steady and strong.  And it really will all be ok in the end.

(And yes, those really are the kinds of thoughts I have before I go to sleep.)


January 1, 2009 - Posted by | A New Paradigm, Just me


  1. Wow! I can so tell that you and I are related, even though we’re different in so many ways. I remember feeling just like you describe. I felt a little guilty that I felt so good. But I also felt good enough to want to keep my world defined just like it was at that moment in time because it was so much better than it had ever been before. I thought I had my plane all figured out. The only thing I wanted was to add just a little human interaction now and then. So I go looking for somebody to hang out with once in a while. And after a year or so I end up on the cliff, contemplating another marriage, about to rearrange the whole thing again. I was so scared to redefine my plane yet another time and worse yet, have somebody else involved in redefining it with me. But I weighed the pros and cons and said yes. And here I am a few years later, and I LOVE this new perspective, this new plane. This one that I was so scared to reach for because I was content in my old “new” plane.

    I agree. Don’t be scared to reach out and change the plane sometimes. I’ve gained so much more than just a good relationship. I don’t rely on him or anybody for my happiness or contentment now. I’m not so afraid of change any more. I reached out and it WAS ok.

    My thoughts are just as strange as yours sometimes. ;D

    Comment by connie | January 1, 2009 | Reply

  2. Wow. This was an amazing post. I’m going to have to revisit this a couple of times. So many life applications can be made here. You know in educational assessment we design around the triangulation model to verify our findings of growth. And when people are plotting or mapping out things, they triangulate. Same thing for GPS. Your geeky sibling could probably state this more intelligently than I’m trying to do but the point you make that this science also holds true in our lives I think is fascinating. Just fascinating!

    Comment by danifesto | January 4, 2009 | Reply

  3. I too have found that my perspective can shift so much from day to day, but never could have put it so elegantly.

    I can point to many times in my life where, in retrospect, I see that third point, that other way. But you never know what you don’t know. This math metaphor is a beautiful way of reminding us to look beyond what we know.

    Comment by susankuchinskas | February 2, 2009 | Reply

  4. I happened on this site because I went to lunch with a friend whose 8 year old son was diagnosed with RAD. She is happy to finally have a diagnosis and frightened and hopeful. Browsing the web I found your page and then this post. I don’t know who you are and I never knew about RAD before but I have been searching for release from PTSD and can’t tell you what reading this particle message meant to me. I copied and pasted the last paragraph so that I can share it with my therapist and perhaps keep it in my wallet. Thank you.

    Comment by Patti-Ann | May 12, 2010 | Reply

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