When I was about 7 years old, my father would tell me about the mountains he climbed, the bands he played in, the girls he dated, the successes he had and the lessons he learned. And, my personal favorite, coming to America and showing his engineering skills to earn a strong position.
My father told me recently that when I was a young boy and he would tell me these great stories, I would ask him, “Papa, if these stories happened so long ago, are they still true?”
If there is only the present moment*, then little Solomon’s question is precious. Even as my father was telling me about his journeys and experiences, they were being thought about and told in that present moment. Therefore, young Solomon’s question is not only about truth but also about perspective.
Little did I realize how philosophical my question was. Each individual mind has so much power that we each can really choose to look at (most) things however we want. This is why a story of overcoming challenges can represent redemption and courage in hindsight. During the moment, the experiences may be tough, but once they’re over we can choose to look at the beautiful lessons from those experiences. In hindsight, we tend to be more grateful for the challenging situations because of the wisdom we could receive from it (I say could because there are times we choose worry over wisdom and ignore the lessons).
Perhaps little Solomon’s question was more like, “how do you see these stories Papa?” because what we can learn from our stories can change. That’s the power and beauty of perspective. What once may be seen as an unfortunate event, could later unfold as a necessary piece to the beautiful puzzle that is your life. We might even look back from that positive vantage point and not want to change anything.
Are my dad’s stories true? Yes, and they represent vibrant experiences that brought us to where we are now.
A kid hearing these stories will be amazed and inspired. If a kid is grateful for our stories and lessons, shouldn’t we as well?
*I believe Ekhart Tolle wrote that there is only the present moment. Simply, even if we were thinking about the past or the future it is occurring now.