Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Behind the shutters

Looking out of a window onto another window caused me to stop and wonder this week. We were on holiday in Rome and the heat caused us to fling the windows open at any given moment. Down below we were entranced by the sounds from the street. Laughter from the pavement cafes, barking dogs encountering each other round corners, street sellers peddling their wares, bells from nearby towers - noises that all reached their way into our flat.

But, it was the silent unknown also caught my attention. Here I was in one flat with my own life, my own story contained within. While just across the way was another flat - hidden behind the partly opened shutters. I know nothing of the folk behind those wooden slats.

I know nothing of their make-up - who they are, how they live, where they come from or what they do. But, perhaps more significantly, I don't know the 'whys' of their lives.

Behind the why questions lie the root of who we are. Why do we behave the way we do? Why do we think in certain ways? Why do we respond to people in certain ways? Why do we choose certain paths than others? The answers can uncover deeply held beliefs and values that may actually need challenging from time to time.

Back in Rome and the shutters across the way remained closed. I will never get to know those people. But, those few moments of looking across into their unknown lives has brought me to my own shutters. And the possibility of opening them open a bit further and asking myself my own 'why' questions.

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