Twenty years ago, (I was seventeen then) I was a young slim girl with long hair, skinny legs and a very big smile, I could give you anything but don’t you dare go near my shoes! And I had a lot of sisters (four to be precise) who all loved my shoes.
One weekend I came home( I just got an admission to the university then) and one of them took my shoes, the best out of about twenty pairs!
Everyone in my family knew about my addiction to this particular pair and Christy, my sister wore it to a party, even though it wasn’t her size. When I told my mom what my sister did, she’d looked at me in a very strange way. I had thought she would come to my defence and tongue lashed my sister for the invasion of my ‘privacy’, the unlawful use of my personal stuff without my say-so but nah! She did no such thing.
I knew my mom did not condone what my sister did but she had a lot to say about my reaction to it, and when I mean a lot, it could be a phrase or word loaded with meaning. Before she spoke, she closed her eyes briefly and when she opened them, there was a twinkle in her brown expressive eyes,
”Be the change in the world and you can sleep with both eyes closed.” She said simply. I didn’t understand what she meant by that statement and wasn’t ready to listen.
”But mom,” I had protested against the obvious injustice of the situation, not the lesson she wanted me to learn, ”I don’t want to change the world, just speak to Christy to stop sneaking behind my back using my things, just tell her to steer clear of my room!”
And I’d stomped out of the house, exasperated with my mom’s unrelenting idiomatic expressions, deep down I thought she was turning me into a villain for protesting but my mom is an incredibly wise woman, she knew in order for me to live in peace with my sisters and brothers, (and now my husband) I should sometimes put myself under the spotlight and see if I am the problem.
Am I been irrational, irritable, unforgiving, selfish, careless and stubborn? Well, the lists can go on and on but as I grew older and had my own family, I finally understood what she was trying to do.
My mom was training me to be a better person, not a fool that could be trampled upon but a disciplined, principled woman who would treat others the way she wanted to be treated. A woman who would respect, love, forgive and appreciate and treat everyone equally, irrespective of their race, religion or sexuality.
If every human being desires to be the change, the world would indeed be a better place. And it’s never too late, take a look at the man, woman, girl, boy in the mirror today and say to him or her ( I am speaking to you, if you’re still reading this post)
”Be the change…”
Your mother is very wise!!!
Thanks for your comment, yeah she is, she’s been married for fifty years and raised nine kids! And I am struggling with just three!!
It must be fun trying to keep up with her!!
You bet, she is retired but just started a new business. She’s an amazon! Thanks so much for your comments!!
The thief and the master
One evening, Zen master Shichiri Kojun was reciting sutras when a thief entered his house with a sharp sword, demanding “money or life”.
Without any fear, Shichiri said, “Don’t disturb me! Help yourself with the money, it’s in that drawer”. And he resumed his recitation. The thief was startled by this unexpected reaction, but he proceeded with his business anyway. While he was helping himself with the money, the master stopped and called, “Don’t take all of it. Leave some for me to pay my taxes tomorrow”.
The thief left some money behind and prepared to leave. Just before he left, the master suddenly shouted at him, “You took my money and you didn’t even thank me?! That’s not polite!”. This time, the thief was really shocked at such fearlessness. He thanked the master and ran away. The thief later told his friends that he had never been so frightened in his life.
A few days later, the thief was caught and confessed, among many others, his thieft at Shichiri’s house. When the master was called as a witness, he said, “No, this man did not steal anything from me. I gave him the money. He even thanked me for it.” The thief was so touched that he decided to repent. Upon his release from prison, he became a disciple of the master and many years later, he attained Enlightenment.
That’s a great story, it showed Shichiri’s got a good heart and it reflected on the thief’s repentance but my sister did not thank me for taking my shoe nor showed any sign of remorse for what she did. But I forgave her all the same and I did learnt a good lesson from your story though. Thanks for posting it on my blog Ben!
Shichiri’s heart and wisdom, like your mother’s, continue to resonate to this day and whenever it is shared to those have ears to hear.
I concur to your statement. If only the world is full of people like Shichiri, my mom, (her name is Victoria) and people like us trying to live by such great standards. But even a drop in the ocean makes a difference… We can make a positive impact wherever we are, no matter how little or insignificant…
Yes. Each drop always causes ripples, so it is important to take care what drops we produce.
A positive drop, to make great impact not drops that causes distress to people or discomfort…A positive change.
Together we created a senryu. 🙂 Thank you.
Thank you too Ben, it’s been a pleasure.
It’s certainly a good thing to look at one’s self sometimes. I don’t know who said it, but this quote has often come to my mind when I get exasperated with a situation (usually my husband and/or children!!!):
“If you want a different outcome, try a different approach”.
When that ever sprang into my mind I’d know I needed to change the way I was dealing with something.
I can also relate to your reaction to your (very wise) mum’s statement, particularly the wisdom of it not hitting you properly until you had your own family. I used to be really frustrated with my father’s, what I saw as strictness – that is until I had daughters! Thanks for posting, it’s a great reminder to treat as we hope to treated 🙂
Thank you so much for your kind comments. It’s easy to do evil and sometimes difficult to do good except by the grace of God. I am wiser now, thanks to my mum and her strict upbringing. Besides, I realise I sleep better because I don’t hold grudges and I have peace of mind. Thanks again for coming by my blog. Cheers!
From this story flows some important lessons about life. And what a wise woman you have in you mother.
Thanks for liking one of my posts, sis. It’s well-appreciated.
My pleasure Uzoma, I love your blog, it is a breath o f fresh air. And thanks for your kind words!
Yours as well, Seyi. I look forward to reading your books and what a fine background story you have! Your progress as well is worthy of praise.
Thanks so much Uzoma for your kind words, you make me blush! Cheers…
It took my younger sister, about 20 years before she finally change (though I expect more, but I am satisfied with she actually changed), and she is about your age, and one year younger than me. She is converted to Christian many years ago, but the change came before my father passed away. Every adversity in life come with an impact and a change, and it depends on our heart to grasp the wisdom comes with them.
But often younger people misunderstand the meaning of change, when they don’t don’t try to fix their relation with others, but mere make the change.
Very insightful, thanks for your comment Qiquan and thank you for checking my blog!