February 2022 - Rector's Ramblings

Christmas has come and gone, the visitors too; and a really lovely time was spent. I look forward to 2022, with hope, and wish all readers a good and peaceful new year.

One of the requirements of Christmas is that we play games, and here the Doyes were not disappointed: Pictionary; Carcassonne; Marrakesh; music-themed Pelmanism; … all took place; and alongside these, the time-honoured jigsaw, took up a table of its own for the long haul of the festive season. Except, this year it wasn’t a Jigsaw; but, rather, a Wasgij: let me explain.

We all know what a conventional jigsaw has to offer, and how it works. Wasgij is a little different. On the box, is a view from one angle. The fiction runs that here is a portrayal of something that is happening .. but .. the task we are asked to undertake, as solvers, is to build a different picture: specifically that which we imagine to be visible to the eye of a certain character who is depicted on the box lid. A view from another angle. 

So, on our box was a picture of a family Christmas, boozey and chaotic, with calming cups of tea soon to be served; but our challenge was to assemble the scene that the Dad (at the back of the picture) saw, horrified, as he stared through the open door of the sitting room. And that scene, by design, held a series of surprises when compared to the reverse view that we had been given. Dad was in a state of shock at what he saw; and we (in assembling the puzzle) had to discover Why.

If you have followed that so far: well done, indeed!

See one picture; and then discipline yourself to consider what it might look like from the opposite direction: a fascinating game, but with a lesson for us all.

Whenever we look out on the world, it is actually rather hard to imagine how the world looks back at us. We become quite dogmatic about how things are. Naturally, we presume our view to be the correct one. We see things right. We are right. And it is galling when others disagree.

In particular, we ourselves are surely good, straightforward, honourable and intelligent people. We are easy to get along with; kind, and good examples of how others should be. We are model citizens. Our values are spot-on. It’s those other contrary people out there who make life difficult, fractious and ugly. If only they were more like us. If only …

The problem is one of perspective; and the hard-come-by realisation is that our own perspective is not always true. We see with unyielding eyes, and often we expect that others should see the world similarly to us. Most of all, we expect those others to see us favourably.

Such one-sightedness has, however, its problems, and likely creates a score of conflicts over time. Stubborn-ness, inflexibility, boorishness and bad humour become our lot, unless we can imaginatively learn to see with other eyes; adopt a different perspective; put ourselves in the other person’s shoes; or willingly allow that wisdom of the proverbial ‘fly upon the wall’.

Each of us has an investment in the world being how we see it; but, in our dealings, our battles, our trystings and our shared endeavours, it serves us all the better if we can be a bit more imaginative. If we can be slower to presume, and quicker to listen. If we can actually welcome the honest views of others. If our hearts can truly allow that there is a room for difference; that every written history has a context, and every opinion is reached from a unique personal standpoint. That truths, once evident to us, may not be quite so apparent to everyone we meet; and, above all, that others are not necessarily receiving us exactly how we might see ourselves.

Before jumping to assertions, is it worth asking: how someone else is seeing what we see .. from their different position in the room?

There is often a lot of wisdom on the other side; and the world may yet look other than we had presumed.  Anyone for Wasgij?

Andrew Doye
The Rector

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