I had an interesting conversation this morning with one of my closest friends all about illusion. Not the sort that is usually done by magicians or illusionists, but about the sort we create for ourselves. You know, the ones we often called ‘rose tinted glasses’!
Our ‘rose tinted glasses’ ensure that we never really see things for what they are. We put a gloss and a sheen over sets of circumstances, events and conversations that lead us to believe in something that was never actually there in the first place. That doesn’t mean to say, this is always a negative, but it’s sometimes worth acknowledging the benefits of having those same spectacles removed every so often.
When we remove the spectacles (or when they are removed from our noses by happenstance) we see things clearly. We can see what was, what is and what might have been but isn’t. What we no longer see are the illusions that have been keeping us in a place of denial about the ‘reality’ (if there can ever be such a thing) of a situation. And yet, illusion can also provide wonder, joy and even happiness; at least for a short time anyway.
I suppose my writing is really about what happens when the illusion is removed, the spectacles set aside and clarity is allowed in. What one gets is often not what one expects, and it would be very easy to then look around for an easy target on which pin the blame for our current predicament. But that is hardly fair. That’s the thing about rose tinted glasses, we have to put them on ourselves; no one forces us to and often no one asks us to either.
Do then, we need to blame ourselves? Once again, it would be easy to say we were silly, foolish, wrong; all words that make life harder to bear in the long run because they create a burden of unreasonable responsibility that we can never hope to shift.
My preference then is for a simple acknowledgement. “This is what was, and for many different reasons this was how the world was perceived for a time. it is neither right nor wrong, it just ‘is'”. Acceptance that this is the case, allows us to learn from the experience, file it away in the backpack of our lives and perhaps reflect upon it in the future when we come to a similar (but hopefully not the same) place again. This is a place of true responsibility for ourselves, it is neither blame nor passive acceptance, it is recognising we have a part to play at every decision made and every journey taken. In many ways, this post reminds of that quotation that sat for many years on my mothers study wall.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.
I now know that much of my life has been lived in illusion for many years, but that this no longer needs to be the case.