The metaphor of a chapter book works well in describing a human life. In talk therapy we describe the struggles that a person is going through as a chapter in that book not the whole story and this is a book you get to change the cover of as often as you like.
And so as we come and go from a person’s life, we need to be mindful we know only the chapter that our paths cross in.
Years ago in a senior’s home, there was the nicest elderly man, he always had a pleasant word for staff, knew our children's names and was helpful towards the people he shared the home with.
So why was it his only son never came to visit? Holidays would come and go money to purchase gifts for his father arrived but no visits.
Finally, it become too much and the director of the home called the son and encouraged him to visit his father. With the application of guilt, the son relented and the day of the visit arrived.
He walked through the front door of the home and went directly to the office of the directer where he announced that this would not go well.
What did he mean not go well, staff smiled and told him how pleased his father would be do know he was a grandfather, how his father always paid special attention to the children who visited, not go well his father would be thrilled.
We only knew this elderly man through one chapter in his life book and with horror moments later profanity, and curses erupted from his room as he screamed after the retreating bodies of his son, daughter-in-law and grandchild.
As the son passed the nurses he said "My father is a bigot and has never accepted my wife or my son, it is my father’s wish never to see us again not ours!"
This quote took on new meaning to the entire staff that day.
Be mindful always that each of us has many chapters in our life book, some we are proud of, others we are not and some we strive to conceal.