A little girl sneaks into a bar and speaks softly to the bartender. The bartender faintly hears something and leans forward. Seeing the tiny person, with his gruff voice, he lets out a grunt.
“Ar, you lost, little one? This place ain’t for you!”
“I am sorry, good sir, but I have lost my dad.”
“Go to the cops then, why are you bothering me?!”
“Every time my dad and mum fight, my mum tells him to get lost. My dad comes here to get lost, and hasn’t returned since last night. His name is Rooben, good sir.”
The bartender clearly remembers his frequent patron, having had to drag him out the night before and putting him in a cab. He realises he has made an assumption about the little girl, as to why she would enter the bar and interrupt his work.
The short story I have written came to me a few days ago. You could say it was inspired. It is intended to tell us a few things about perception and change.
1. When someone coming to us for help is not who we expect one to be, or we feel that one does not belong to our accepted social circle or norms, many a time, we are quick to pass judgement on that someone.
2. When that same someone shares a problem with us, regardless of its importance, we tend to brush it off just because we are busy doing something else. We only hear but do not listen.
3. When we start to listen and understand the actual matter at hand, it is vital that we reflect and not prejudge the person or the situation that has been presented to us.
What does this story have to do with me? Over the past couple of weeks, I was looking at my dad the wrong way. At 84 and suffering from both dementia and Parkinson’s, he struggles with himself to remember whatever he can and to keep himself active. Sometimes a little shift can cause a domino effect. A seemingly harmless change in my diet had started to affect my thoughts and the way I perceived things. The results were so subtle that I did not notice my change until a friend pointed out during a discussion that I should ‘cool down’.
After two days of in-depth reflection, the advice struck a chord with me. All the while, ever since my transformation, I had seen my dad as a problem. He was just there, shouting and verbally abusing my mum. He was trying to understand what he could not (the things that were going on within himself), and was also unable to find a way to meaningfully communicate all that he was going through (or not) to anyone. How do you understand someone undergoing something when you’re not existentially in that person’s shoes? For an untrained eye, his mannerisms, behaviours, actions and overall presence would generally be considered extremely annoying and difficult to handle. As I too struggled to ‘understand’ these unique traits of his, I had created an illusion in my head that my dad was the problem and I had to ‘fix’ him so that I could progress in my business.
What I eventually realised was that he is the solution! He is showing me what I should not become and that everything I can do to change myself stems from his overwhelming presence. It is through overcoming this struggle that I can continue to grow. By being grateful for all that he has done for me over the last 30 odd years, I found out that whatever he did was done in the best way he knew how. Just because I came into existence after him, I do not have the right to judge his methods. Almost immediately, the bitterness that I had held against him over the past few months simply vanished.
Sometimes, we need someone to show us a different perspective. Whether or not it aligns with your current way of thinking, a fresh set of eyes on the same issue can and will churn out a possible solution. While the story about the little girl may have come from inspiration arising from the events that happened with my dad, it was the intimate time I had spent with my mentor and the team that allowed me to see him in a different light. Mentorship has given me an opportunity to see every single problem out there as a solution, waiting to be discovered. Now, it is as if my entire being is on fire and nothing can extinguish that flame of burning desire. May you learn to see things in a new light as well.
Love and light,
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