The next morning, when Verity and her parents sat at the kitchen table to have their Saturday morning breakfast together, Verity decided to ask her father about his nightmares.
“Daddy?” she asked after she had finished eating her fruit salad.
“Yes, sweetie,” her father replied, smiling at her with love in his eyes.
“Why did you and the other men shoot all those people in that little town?”
Her father’s mouth fell open. He knew she was very bright for her age – she had turned six two weeks ago – but that she had tuned into his nightmare last night, startled him. His wife, Roxanne, remained calm. She had known since Verity’s birth what Verity was capable of.
“I … I don’t know what to say,” Alan stammered.
Verity placed her hand on her father’s hand and replied: “Just tell the truth, Daddy.”
Through you all, my aim is true
From: ‘Hammerhead’ by The Offspring
“Right from the beginning, we knew there was something wrong. The streets were empty alright, save for an old mangy dog, but somehow we sensed a civilian presence instead of a military one.”
He then went on to tell Verity and her mother that the lieutenant ordered them to surround the town and fire at the buildings with their anti-tank missile launchers. They did as they were told and to their horror, civilians appeared and ran screaming from their homes out into the open area around the town. The soldiers immediately stopped firing, but the lieutenant ordered them to recommence, because the rebels were bound to be among the civilians. So, the platoon opened fire again and wiped out every living soul.
You do what they told you,
Now you’re under control
From: ‘Killing In The Name Of’ by Rage Against The Machine
Alan burst into tears.
“I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry,” he sobbed.
Verity stood up, put her arms around him and hugged him tightly.
“I know you are, Daddy.”
When he stopped crying, she sat down again and held his hand.
“Daddy, I think you should stop doing as you’re told.”
“I think so too,” he replied, smiling faintly through tear-ridden eyes.
Verity and her mother said nothing and smiled knowingly at each other instead.
Today was no exception. The moment that Verity and her parents stepped out of the car, she felt the energy in her body vibrating more intensely than usual. She glanced sideways and smiled when she saw her mother close her eyes and take a deep breath. She felt it too.
“Hmm,” her mother sighed with a contented smile on her face.
She then opened her eyes and took Verity gently by the hand. Alan held Verity’s other hand and together the three of them proceeded towards the short hiking trail that they often took. Just before they got there, they were halted in their tracks by a squirrel sitting cheekily in the middle of the bitumen path that led to the beginning of the trail.
“Hi Verity,” the squirrel replied, “Hi Verity’s mom and dad.”
“Hi Mr Squirrel,” Alan and Roxanne said in unison, not in the least surprised by the fact that they were speaking to an animal.
The squirrel then turned to Alan.
“Are you aware of what’s making you feel the need to obey?”
Alan let the question ring in his mind for a bit and then answered:
“I feel it has something to do with my upbringing.”
The squirrel nodded as if to encourage Alan to delve deeper.
“As long as I can remember, I was taught to listen to what others had to say first. That made me ignore what I felt deep down to be true for me. So, I exchanged my beliefs for theirs and believed without questioning whatever I was told.”
“You neglected your true self,” the squirrel interjected, “and so, you lost your balance and were no longer able to judge from the heart what was true for you and what was not.”
“Yes, you could put it that way,” Alan said. “Now I know what’s causing me to obey others, I want to change. But how?” he added, looking at Roxanne for help.
At the same time, the squirrel and Verity exchanged glances. Then Verity gently squeezed her father’s hand to draw his attention.
“Mr Squirrel and I believe it’s not so hard as you might think.”
Alan listened closely to what his precious and wise young daughter had to say.
“All you need to do is to play more often.”
“Yes, and I don’t just mean fun and games. I mean being playful in whatever you do.”
“Ahh,” Alan responded with a look of comprehension in his eyes.
“Playfulness,” the squirrel began to add, “enables you to let go of the outcome and do what comes naturally and is therefore in line with your own truth.”
“Thank you Mr Squirrel,” Alan said dewy-eyed as he kneeled down in front of his furry little counsellor and kissed him gently on the head.
“You’re welcome, and I think there’s someone else you should thank as well,” the squirrel said, gesturing with his little paw to Verity.
“Yes, of course,” Alan said turning to Verity. “Thank you my sweet Verity. Without you I would never have gotten this far.”
“Sure, you would, Daddy,” Verity replied and gave him a big hug.
Then Roxanne kneeled down as well and joined in a group hug. After the family had finished kissing and hugging each other, they said goodbye to the squirrel.
“Bye bye, Mr Squirrel. See you next time,” Verity said and then began skipping hand in hand with her mother.
“I’m so proud of you, Verity,” she said as she put her arm around Verity’s shoulder.
As wise as she was for her age, Verity still loved to snuggle up close against her mother. It made her feel safe and loved, and gave her the opportunity to forget everything for a while and simply be her mother’s little daughter.
“A penny for your thoughts,” her mother asked.
Verity stared into the distance for a few moments and then asked: “Mommy, what do you think the world expects of me?”
“All that the world expects is for you to be yourself.”
Alan overheard his wife’s words and smiled lovingly at the two people he loved most. Verity sensed this and smiled back at him. Then she looked into her mother’s eyes.
Meanwhile, the squirrel found someone else to talk to. Tugging at the leg of my pants, he questioned me, the writer of this story: “So, Wim, when will you stop doing as you’re told?”
“Who me?” I asked in return, visibly surprised by this sudden turn of events.
“Yes, you,” he replied. “It’s all very well you writing about other people and letting me help them to reflect on their experiences, but now it’s your turn.”
“Hmm, point taken, Mr Squirrel,” I replied. “Let me see now. Just like Alan, I see myself confronted with my past. I too lost sight of my own truth and because of it I obeyed authority and did what I was told. As a result, I was indirectly helping authority to abuse the powers vested in it and thereby manipulate not only me, but society as a whole. That’s what gives authority its power and enables it to control people everywhere.”
Minds can be controlled, hearts cannot
“You’ve learned a lot,” the squirrel interrupted, “but you still haven’t answered my question. What can you do in order to help yourself and humanity to break free from authority and create a fair and loving world based on universal truth?”
“An expansion of awareness,” I answered without hesitating.
The squirrel nodded by way of encouragement.
“I must think less and feel more. So, I’m going to tune into my heart and feel my connection with the universal truth. That way I’ll be able to distinguish truth and love from deceit and fear, and always make choices and decisions that serve The Big Family, as Verity calls it.”
As I spoke, I felt a surge of energy from the heart spreading throughout my body. I felt confident enough to make this work.
“Thank you Mr Squirrel,” I said, sitting at my computer, and blew him an imaginary kiss.
He grinned from ear to ear and said: “Thank Verity.”
“Yes, I will,” I said.
But, before I got the chance to type a word of thanks to Verity, her sweet little voice sounded in the distance, making my eyes moist with tears of affection.
“It was a pleasure, Wim. I know you will find people just like you who will take good care of The Big Family. You’ve already found me.”
“Thank you Verity. I’m sure I will,” I replied as I placed my hand on my heart.
“Oh, and Wim?” Verity added, “Don’t forget to play every day.”
If we move together
We can find a solution
We are the ones
From: ‘Dance On Heavy Weather’ by Level 42
Verity: English girl’s name, meaning ‘truth’ (from the Latin word ‘veritas’)
Roxanne: Originally a Persian girl’s name, meaning ‘dawn’
Squirrel: Energy, playfulness, balance, preparation, socializing, prudence, resourcefulness, passion, vitality, trust, and an active fun-filled life (from: The Astrology Web)
‘Squirrel’ by Eluxirphoto on Pixabay
‘Guy’ by StockSnap on Pixabay
‘Family’ by Nastya_Gepp on Pixabay