Wednesday, December 19, 2007

It's been a while since we've had a little allegory

Once upon a time, there was a little girl whose parents had died, and she had to be sent to a boarding school. Her parents had been kind people, and taught her right from wrong, and how to live a decent, multi-faceted life. They taught her how to grow tomatoes, how to snuggle babies, how to ride a bicycle, how to be angry and sad, and how to get over it.

The people in charge at the boarding school were much different. They taught the children how to make stained glass windows. At first, it was very difficult. She cut her fingers on the glass, and often broke pieces in her projects. The people in charge were very disappointed. They said,

"You should be like Jenny. Jenny is our best child, all grown up now. She has made hundreds of beautiful stained glass windows all over the world."

The little girl improved over time. Her stained glass windows were medium-sized and nice looking. The people in charge at the boarding school sold them to tourists and hotel corporations looking for cheaply-priced art to adorn their walls.

Still, the people in charge were very disappointed. They said,

"You should be like Jenny. Jenny is our best child, all grown up now. She has made hundreds of beautiful stained glass windows all over the world."

The people in charge rarely mentioned other things about Jenny. Jenny lived alone. Jenny couldn't keep houseplants alive. Jenny ate too much salty food. Jenny was mean to waiters. Jenny spent so much of her time making beautiful stained glass windows, she hardly had time for anything else. The little girl heard rumors about Jenny, but the people in charge spoke only of her stained glass windows.

The little girl worked very hard to improve. Her stained glass windows now were large-size and very detailed. They were interesting to look at, and real artists hung them in their big white galleries with yellow oak floors.

Still, the people in charge were very disappointed. They said,

"You should be like Jenny. Jenny is our best child, all grown up now. She has made hundreds of beautiful stained glass windows all over the world."

It had been many years since her parents had died. And the little girl was all grown. Some days, she thought of the lessons that her mother and father had taught her about living a decent life, about right and wrong, about growing tomatoes and snuggling babies and riding bicycles. And other days, she thought about Jenny. And
sometimes when she thought of Jenny, only sometimes, usually in the dark of night, she was envious of all those stained glass windows that Jenny had created.

4 comments:

shannon said...

yet the life jenny led was one of loneliness and solitude.

there is something to be said about a decent, good life.

Traveler, not tourist said...

I totally get it. Love the storytelling. I just got out of a group meeting so I know the "Be like Jenny" thing. But seriously I've reached a stage where I don't want to be Jenny. I'm trying to get myself in a situation where I can be myself (clich├ęd I know, but is hard).

ScienceGirl said...

Love the story! I don't want to be Jenny either, but it's tough to convince advisors that it's ok to not be Jenny.

Rob said...

Love the story too!

The people in charge of that boarding school need to read some Thich Nhat Hanh.