By Brian Liu
I like storybooks because I can get from them a sense of finality and closure that I often cannot get from life. The benefits of a narrative is that upon finishing a book, I have clarity on what the events in the book mean as a whole. I can look at the characters and the sequence of events that happened in the book, and the plot and make conclusions on the meaning of all of those things for my own life. Hence, from the all too familiar fable of The Hare and the Tortoise, I can take away from it the principle that slow and steady wins the race.
Yet, in life, I don’t always have that immediate clarity. The events in our lives rush at us, one after another after another, like a ferocious river racing down a mountain side, and they overwhelm us. Our ability to process our experiences into practical and spiritual lessons is often slow and limited. Some lessons do not become clear until many years on. We may not treat our present experiences with the right humility or prudence. Hindsight is 20/20.
This limitation has become more pertinent to me as I begin my senior year at St. John’s. I am preoccupied with the questions: “What has it all meant to me?” and “What am I going to take from it?” And deep down there is a fear of what lesson, what new knowledge lies at the end of my experience at St. John’s and what it may entail for my future life decisions.
As I have been struggling with this question, I remembered reading, in our student newspaper The Gadfly, a reflection that a graduating student wrote on her experience at St. Johns:
“I hope that our mistakes will not sour our experience of life but will instead teach us a light-hearted humility as painlessly as possible. And, from that humility, I hope we gain an expanded capacity to forgive and extend kindness to our fellows.”*
Perhaps my reflection at the end will be different, but I do hope that I’ll arrive at something similar if not more beautiful. I guess we’ll just have to see.
*Written by Ms.Perry (Class of 2015)