The Lesson Well Learnt

There are moments in life that knocked you down with a feather—moments which stun, shock, surprise you. Moments etched in your minds as the most cherished memories. Moments, I’d say, that won you over.

I’ve been won over, absolutely and irrevocably, by a moment spent listening to a young girl’s dream.

What was the dream, you’ll ask me? Believe me the answer is bound to leave you surprised, and I hope, inspired.

What can a young girl of eight dream of? A few months back if I were to answer it, I’d probably have said something fancy or grand or even eccentric. Because eight is an age I’d associate with naiveté. One would imagine that a girl so young would not understand life, that her perceptions and expectation out of it would be colored by prejudices which are a part of childhood.

Now, what can a young orphaned girl of eight dream of? One who lost her parents before she had the chance to know them . . . One whose relatives refused to take her in . . . One who has lived in a poorly funded shelter home since her second year! I figure we’d agree that she is less privileged than many of her contemporaries—more at risk of not being able to explore life and its myriad possibilities, one could say. Life has been tough on her, so I gather the childhood prejudices would be overwhelmed by a sense of survival. It would, if you ask me, be expected and openly accepted if her dreams are just a little self-centered. After all, when life kicks you at an age so tender, it must leave behind some bitterness. Even at an older age, if something bad happens to us, in its wake it leaves a bitter taste. Were you to imagine yourself in the young girl’s shoes, it must make you, if not absolutely, vaguely cynical. I figure she’d want a happy and contended life with all the necessities and more. And she should. In her place I would have. But, you know what, that is not what the girl I talked with wanted.

When asked what her dream was, the young girl had replied “I want to help. I want to help everyone who is unhappy to be happy”

If anyone could have listened and looked at her right then without being touched by her innocence and resilience, well, I, certainly, am not one of them. That wonderful child humbled me. For a moment I just stared at her, stared at the ordinary looking young girl, not particularly pretty but cute in a way that only a child is, and I was blindsided by her smile. That brighter than the sun smile which shone in her eyes as she spoke of her dream.

It wouldn’t be unfair to say there are people who’ve been blessed. Life hasn’t been all that harsh on them, not really. Of course, everyone would be having problems and issues, that’s just how life is. But it cannot be ignored that perhaps life has handed out the short stick, so to speak, only to some.

I, personally, would count myself among the blessed ones.

What is my dream? Well, my dream is to be a writer, and a damn good one at that. Somewhat selfish, isn’t it? I’d say yes. I’ve asked a number of people about their dreams. One answered she wanted to make her father proud, another said she wanted to join the forces so she could have prestige, someone wanted to run a bakery, to travel, to be rich, and so on.

When persons, who are relatively better off than many their ages, have dreams which are somewhat selfish or superficial (and there is nothing wrong in that), why not this young girl, I’d wanted to ask. And you know why? Well, in her words ‘Because everyone should be happy’.

Just that simple!

That was a lesson learned: Everyone should be happy because life is too short to not be happy. A young girl, so far behind me in years and experience, taught me something I’d value all my life. Whenever my faith will waver, I’ll recall her smiling face as she’d told me about her dream. And I bet that light would be just as bright in my memories as it was in reality.

Live your life to the fullest, dream big and sweet, and never, no matter what happens, lose faith. Because somewhere in this country, in a shabby shelter home lives a girl who believes everyone should be happy. If she can believe, why not us?!

If life dishes out something we’d rather do without, like a break-up instead of the ardently anticipated happily ever after, we let that affect us to the extent that the light inside us dims. It’s easy, I’d say, to let bitterness swallow love. It takes courage and conviction to not let that happen. The young girl was rich in both, and so much more.

I wonder what the world would be like if everyone started thinking like the young girl. Of course, I know that’s a pretty far-fetched notion and impractical, too. Then again, what if?

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