Neither Tall Nor Short (Being Joshua)
As a child, I read the story of how a robbery was witnessed by two close friends, one was a short man, and the other was a tall man.
Both men were subsequently called upon to testify before the king and elders of the land about what they had witnessed. They both agreed on everything the other person said, until one of the elders asked “was the thief tall or short?”
One of the men insisted the thief was a tall man, while the other swore on everything he held dear that the thief was short. This left the elders confused.
They spent over fifteen minutes arguing on this, until it dawned on one of the elders that by the physical gesticulation being made by both men, they were actually summing up the height of the thief to be around the same point. It was the summarily descriptive word that was different.
The elder then asked the first man that how tall he thinks the thief is, he said 5ft 6. He asked the second man, and he said 5ft 7. The elder then pointed out to everyone that both men were actually looking at the same thief, from different angles and agreeing on the height of the thief.
To the tall man, the thief was short; to the short man, the thief was tall. But in reality, the thief was actually of average height.
How we view the world and everything in it, how we relate with others, how we treat even ourselves is influenced by our past experiences. The joys, pains, victories, losses, friends, foes and everything in between.
There is a saying that someone who has been attacked by a mad man will cross to the other side of the road if he sees a mechanic in dirty clothes approaching him. That will seem farfetched to someone who has never experienced the trauma of such an attack, but someone else who has lived through that pain would question how much you love yourself if he sees you try to converse with a seemingly unstable person.
We find it difficult to change our views, that’s why the first impression matters a lot. Even when things have changed, we don’t just change our views to change with them.
As an adult, I am still awkwardly surprised, when I meet people from my past who use to view as being tall, suddenly we cross paths on the road, and they are now shorter than I am. Mentally, I still feel shorter than they are, though physically, it is not true.
Same with whenever I am in a circle of friends, everyone expects the same guy to be funny as he was ten years ago, the same guy to have the answer to every question, the same guy to go on an ego trip, the same guy to be the fine boy and the same guy to be the ladies’ man.
To your friends, you never change. You are either tall or short, wise or foolish, dark or fair, gentle or hyper. Despite your efforts to change yourself, your closest friends will seem like the last to notice.
That is why if you are working to change yourself, it is sometimes best to change those around you. Even if temporarily. Also, if someone confides in you that they are working on themselves, you have to support them as much as you can.
Like the saying credited to Williams Shakespeare that “there is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so”. Maybe we can safely add that there is no one tall or short, it is our own height that makes them so.