If you can be anything in this world, be nice.
Information was coming at her from all sides.
Conflicting, confusing information that was leaving her in no clearer position to make a decision. Turn left, turn right, do this, do that, fake news, real news, the truth, lies. How was she supposed to know what was right and what was wrong?
Friends were telling her one thing, family another and colleagues a third.
Bury your head, she thought. Keep a low profile and avoid the constant barrage of details, choices, confusions…
“You are unique, but you are part of a collective.” The message was clear.
Individuality was gone, uniformity was key. But within her uniformity, she knew she was individual. This wasn’t 1984, for Pete’s sake…
She had to keep hold of her individuality. She had to maintain the essence of ‘her’. She didn’t want to stand out, didn’t want to be obvious, didn’t want to run the risk of being separate, ostracised.
So how to keep a collective mentality while retaining an individual perspective? How to be part of the whole while remaining true to herself?
You are unique, but you are part of a collective.
The path ahead was clear, there was just one hurdle to cross and their destination would be within spitting distance.
A couple of steps, two up and two down, would lead them into the field and they would be away.
The hill looked ominous ahead of them, it was almost a mirage, they felt that, no matter how long they kept walking towards it, it would never be within reach.
But they also knew that they had to try, had to keep on going.
Just two steps up, and two steps down…
The first sign they came to was halfway up the wall, buried beneath years of paint.
It was Victorian, as old as the house into which it was embedded; a memory of a time when it meant something to take time, effort and pride to make signage. Signage that was there for one reason and one alone. Nobody would normally look for it; most wouldn’t even see it.
But there it sat, bold as cast iron, giving information to the world and no-one.
Further on, another sign pointed the way.
It was a different direction than the one they wanted to go in, but its instructions were clear, very clear.
There seemed no reason for the diversion, though. The road was empty in both directions, no hint of closure. But they were conscientious and set off in the direction the sign was pointing, unsure whether, in fact, that would get them to the destination they were hoping for.
A gate barred their way, a third sign informing them what lay beyond.
But was it an Abbey or was it a Farm? They had previously seen a sign for Street Road, which was muddling in itself, and this just added to their confusion.
Beyond the gate was a path, but they were on the outskirts of a town, and there was no farm in sight, let alone any building of religious significance.
Still they made their way on, hoping against hope that where they were heading, what they were doing, was right.
Another sign, and one whose message always seemed to cause chaos.
Social distancing was a new concept. Years had gone by and people had slowly but surely gotten used to being more tactile. Then things had changed, and distance became the new close.
New road layouts were always a hazard, particularly as the signs tended to stay in place long after new became old.
So they carried on, taking extra care and being overly vigilant, hoping that the end was in sight, metaphorically as well as geographically.
The stone had been like that for generations, from what he had been told. The chunk of granite had cracked from tip to base, that fateful night in 1874. Nothing else had been touched, no other graves affected, no other souls disturbed. Just this one stone.
The dedication had worn away decades before, the records lost to time. Nobody knew any more whose grave it was, nobody knew if their remains were still there. The rumour was that the devil himself had torn the stone asunder, ripping the body from the ground so that his own domain may remain unsullied.
Who could have been so evil that even the devil didn’t want them as his bedmate? What crimes must they have committed to anger Lucifer so?
And who came each month to lay flowers on the grave with no name?
The gate swung open unbidden. The creaking of the hinges shattered the calm of the trees surrounding him, bringing him sharply to his senses.
Beyond the gate he could make out a building. The windows were shuttered, but he had a feeling that the house wasn’t empty, merely sleeping, waiting for the moment when someone would arrive to wake it from its reverie.
The lawns were tended, and he wanted to take a step forward, to get a better look at the garden, but immediately felt as if he would be trespassing, unwanted, into grounds that had been perfectly manicured by a gardener who had every intention of keeping them that way, no matter what happened.
To walk forward or to turn and run? Intruders were definitely not welcome here, and, without any shadow of a doubt, he would be intruding. But he also felt that it was too late. With the opening of that gate, the barrier had been broken and he was left with only one choice.
He felt himself take a step towards the Abbey…
Never forget when you have come from.
It is a part of who you are, and others will willingly remind you of that.
Your roots are what keep you grounded, so never deny them.
Don’t waste an opportunity when it is presented to you.
Too many of us pass by doors that are just waiting for us.
Live life to its fullest – if something comes up, then go for it.
It passed us by so quickly, so we need t enjoy it as much as we can.
Don’t waste a second. Let evert moment count.
Life is short, so go for it!