This morning, I opened the garage door to witness an adult Canada goose leading four chicks up the sidewalk and into the woods across the street. Most goslings I’ve observed are bookended by their parents on land and in the water. “Where’s the father?” crossed my mind, and a few possibilities presented themselves, along with the realization that we do this all the time. We create stories to match what we see, often without factual information in order to make sense of our world.
Several years ago, we moved my parents closer to us to better care for my dad. Once most boxes had been unpacked and furniture in place, my mom worried that her grandmother’s quilt had been lost. Where was it? After a moment, her story unfolded, “I told the movers they could have the television. They dropped it off at their home and had to move the box the quilt was in to get to the television. They must have forgotten to put the box with the quilt back on the truck.” She had created a story to account for her quilt and believed it. We uncovered the quilt later that night in a box we’d yet to unpack.
How often do we create a story around something so that it aligns with our beliefs, values and biases? We are quick to judge someone by their looks, mannerisms or reactions. It’s easier to make up a story on little or no factual data rather than to sit with uncertainty. Yet, what we don’t know is far greater than what we do know.
As I watched the geese saunter into the woods with only one adult leading, I’m reminded to assess what I know to be true and to allow myself the grace of not knowing. What story have you hatched?