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Sit a bit and hear some observational stories I’ve been steeping.

Pandora’s Box

Do you remember the mythological story of Pandora’s Box?  It was the container (a jar, in the original tale) that contained all the “evils of the world.”  Today, when we say that someone has opened Pandora’s Box, it means they’ve created something (usually bad) that cannot be undone.  They open a lid or door they should not have… then act as though they hadn’t and just expect things to go back to the way they were.

Fat chance.

At first blush, that Pandora was a lucky girl.  The mythical Greek gods bestowed upon the beautiful goddess multiple gifts, some of them lovely (talent, jewels, clothing) and some of them nasty (“lies and crafty words”).  Then, they went and pulled a fast one on her.  One of the last gifts they gave Pandora was curiosity, along with a container that held sickness, disease, crime, hate, envy and a “myriad of other pains” which she ended up releasing upon the earth to torment mankind.

Oops.

The door to Pandora’s Box can often symbolize love and/or trust and once opened and undone, we can find ourselves having a heap of trouble letting go and moving on, despite all of the day-glo bumper sticker platitudes instructing us to do so.

One of the near-guarantees to living a long life is that you have likely had your heart wounded a time or two by the swinging Dutch doors of love.  I know I have.  For the most part, I always managed to accept whatever had happened and move on – but there was this one door that opened and slammed shut so abruptly and painfully, that I don’t know if I will ever completely get over it.  Like the ugly spirits that flew from Pandora’s Box, I have questions, inadequacies and regrets that float in and out of view, from time to time, that may plague me all the days of my life.

There is a wonderful Spanish Proverb that says, “A word and a stone let go cannot be recalled.”  The same holds true for words uttered that carry the weight of stones.  Words often open doors to a “myriad of pains” that cannot be recalled, so we must always be careful before releasing them.

For example, there was a man I knew who I’d held in high esteem for decades.  This man, from all appearances, loves his family, adores his wife and conducts his business in a way that garners respect and admiration from all who know him.  But, perhaps none of us ever really knew him.  Because one day, my phone rang and a whispered voice questioned whether I really trusted this man and then went on to ask if my child had ever mentioned any inappropriate behavior taking place.  The answer was no – but the words shoved a wedge firmly under an already narrow space of trust, since I’d been violated by a family “friend” as a child – and I will never be able to shut that door again, with the mist of this new evil having been released.

There is a tremendous sadness knowing that the curses of sickness, disease, crime, hate, envy and pain can never be returned to their original mythological container.  However, the story goes that after opening the box, Pandora left one item behind.  The one thing left… was hope.  Hope to help mankind through the difficulties that we’d have to endure.

So, I suppose the moral of the story is this: When we are surrounded by the multitude of bad things that cannot be undone, the one gift we have, is the one we must scrape from the bottom of the jar. Hope is there…if we look, to help us make every effort to move on.

Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.” – Vaclav Havel

Fear cannot be without hope nor hope without fear.” – Baruch Spinoza

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Pandora’s Box Image by Crystal Moore Photography — www.crystalmoorephotography.net

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