“It might also be possible that the world has whatever meaning you attach or, perhaps bring, to it,” Aunt Rose cautioned Sally. “Never take what anyone says at face value. Always explore something and measure it against your own truth. And, if you don’t know what your truth is, seek it out.”
“How do I do that, auntie?” young Sally asked.
“Open your heart to other possibilities. Use your mind to examine the evidence before you. Employ your gut instinct ~ that is, how does what you see or hear make you feel? If you are uncomfortable with something, it’s possible the meaning attached to it is not for you.” Aunt Rose considered further, “We all approach life from different departure points. My experience is not your experience. Our opinions may be the same on a matter but we will have to have arrived at our individual conclusions based on our own process if it is to mean anything. We must go through the process of personal affirmation and not allow ourselves to be bullied or blinded into something, it doesn’t matter what it is. And that includes your understanding of my point of view on this conversation.”
Sally thought for a moment. “Can you give me an example, auntie?”
“Well, dear, you know how your aunt Melanie, my sister, is uncomfortable around dogs?”
“Does that mean you should be uncomfortable around dogs, too?”
“Why? Have you ever had a bad experience with a dog?”
“No, but … ”
Aunt Rose interrupted.
“Why should one person’s bad experience with a dog put you in the position of being afraid of dogs, Sally? Your aunt loves dogs but was attacked by a stray as a little girl. Since then she has kept a healthy distance from them, especially dogs she doesn’t know.” Aunt Rose paused for a moment, and then continued, “I ought to say, to be accurate, that she isn’t afraid of them as much as she chooses not be be around them. … That’s a healthier way of looking at it, I’d say. But should her experience make you fearful of them?”
Sally thought for a moment. “Perhaps the lesson to be learned, Aunt Rose, is to be mindful in the presence of dogs unfamiliar to you. For instance, I know I can wrap my arms around Abbey, our collie, but I would never do that to the neighbour’s doberman. He doesn’t know me and I don’t know him well enough to be that familiar. It’s about respect, isn’t it?”
Aunt Rose smiled.
“Yes, dear, if that is the meaning you wish to give it, it absolutely is. But that is a conclusion you have drawn yourself based on your own experience, and this is healthy. To assume a meaning without first giving something due consideration is born of ignorance and ignorance, as the great Charles Dickens said in his Christmas Carol is the most important thing of which to be aware. Remember the Ghost of Christmas Present when he said ” … beware this boy [who represented ignorance] for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased.”? Ignorance dooms us to misery. Look around you … how many miserable people do you know whose life might be changed for the better if they chose to look beyond their own ignorance?”
Sally recalled the scene from the old Alistair Sim movie, and and thought of her friend Francine who’d been peer-pressured into the drug scene and was ignorant of its long-term effects. She shuddered.
Aunt Rose leaned forward from her seat of power toward Sally seated on the sofa next to her and patted her niece on the shoulder.
“You’ll be alright, darling. Just keep asking questions and never be satisfied with assumptions. Ignorance is rarely bliss. Find the truth within yourself and you will find whatever meaning the world holds for you and be able to stand up to those who would lead you astray.” Aunt Rose’s mind drifted to her own friends ensnared in their own misery, and gave her niece’s shoulder a squeeze. “And for you, my dear, I hope it means a lifetime of happiness. … But that is up to you, of course.”
Sally smiled. “Of course. Thank you, auntie.”
“Now, young lady,” said the older woman, “let’s make some tea and find the chocolate biscuits. That was hungry work.”
Prompted by Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday.
Thanks for visiting,