Today’s challenge is inspired by the blog “The Things We Forget.” http://thingsweforget.blogspot.com/ which shares motivations and mini-meditations emblazoned in permanent marker on Post-it notes. I’m not a maker of lists, but I am seldom without a supply of Post-Its in my purse … just in case I need to jot down something I don’t want to forget. Usually these are things of a pedestrian nature … dinner or gas or the dry-cleaning. Other times, it’s the name of a restaurant or a perfume or even a store where I might find the same handbag as the one I saw hanging from the arm of a complete stranger in line at the post-office. Today, I need a little home-spun wisdom, something to keep me going when the going gets tough (as it invariably does). Growing up, I was often told, “show me who your friends are, and I’ll show you who you are.” That has turned out to be true. With age, comes even greater discernment, but some days a little reminder is in order. What better advice than this, from Maya Angelou, “people know themselves much better than you do. That’s why it’s important to stop expecting them to be something other than who they are.”
My hope for my daughter is that she will learn that the very first time a person lies to her or about her will be the first of all the other times; the very first time someone wounds her with indifference or arrogance, manipulation or meanness, acts merely as precedent. The same might be said for integrity and loyalty which I suppose is why betrayal hurts so much, or as Arthur Miller put it, why it is “the only truth that sticks.”
So the thing I don’t want to forget today, is that I should believe people the first time they show me who they really are, as opposed to the second or third or tenth. Then I will know, sooner rather than later, whether to walk this road with them or without them, dignity intact either way.