Objects in the rear view mirror may appear closer than they are

When I was in junior school, my head teacher used to tell us stories during assembly time.  Many are now long forgotten, but some stick in my mind and come back at odd times.

One concerns a boy who fell and hurt his knee.  We all understood this: as kids playing in the playground we would often fall and hurt a knee and need a plaster.  And that happened to this boy.  Only what should have been a simple injury to be quickly recovered from became anything but, not because the original injury was severe but because the boy decided he couldn’t bear the pain of bending his knee and so started to walk around stiffly holding his leg absolutely straight.  And so the original injury soon healed, as they always do, but because he had refused to bend his knee for so long the bone set and he discovered he could not bend it at all.

I’ve no idea whether this is medically likely, or even possible, but the message was clear – if you refuse to face the small pains, and small inconveniences, but make a big deal out of it, it can change into something that affects your life in a much bigger way for a much longer time.

Which brings me to my title, which is an odd phrase seen in some car mirrors and also the title of a song by Meatloaf.  You see, we all have things in our past which affected us and caused problems, but for some of us we refuse to let go and face the pain, and so however big or small the original problem, the scar tissue left behind long after the original problem is dealt with hangs around, lurking just out of our sight, ready to raise itself into our view at inconvenient times, looking larger than life.

What we need to do is acknowledge that it’s not even the original problem that causes problems.  It’s our reaction to that problem.  Then maybe we can turn and face this danger lurking in the mirror and realise that actually it’s not as big as it seems to be.  Because objects in the rear view mirror may appear closer than they are.  And uglier.  And more dangerous.  And distorted way out of their original shape.  And harder to face seen in reflection than they are if you stand your ground, turn and face them in the cold light of day.

“If life is just a highway, then the soul is just a car.  And objects in the rear view mirror may appear closer than they are.”



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