We Live in a House of Many Rooms

But many of them are unfurnished and unlit. Those rooms are the possibilities afforded by our personalities and abilities. Gradually, if misfortune strikes, we will turn off the lights of one room after another, till the warm and blazing mansion of personality is now some brooding unlite  and dilapidated shelter on the hill.  Many of us have compassion for those less fortunate than ourselves but the numbers of the unfortunate in this world runs into many millions.    The more fortunate will gradually furnish more and more of their alloted space till those who pass them by look in wonder at the plenty which surrounds them. With all of us some rooms remain unlit, and possibly even undiscovered by their owners. These are the dormant talents and possibilities we all have within us.

We ask how a beggar can live on the streets. Because they shut down and become anesthetized to the connective emotions of everyday life.Most can offer them little more than a nod and the attention span afforded us by others ,as we start to discuss our problems, unless they are very specific,  is  limited. You cannot empty a pond with a teaspoon: it takes too long, and you soon grow bored and detached.  That is one of the reasons why we , in the west, live in a world of professional compassion, where coaches, therapists carers and other are paid to listen to the problems our friends and relatives are too busy to hear about,  or we are too proud to reveal.

In a sense we are all like magazines. We release snippets of our lives but most of it is considered not worthy of, or too embarrassing for publication. There are millimetres of difference between the millionaire and the beggar he passes. Both know that,  but one of the secrets that keeps society operating, and vanity well polished on the dresser ,is  that we praise one and write off the other. This is not true of everyone but it has a truth.

I grew up in a largely loveless childhood were my mother, robbed of her husband at an early age, retreated to her room and a world of contemplation, leaving her young children to wander round and fend for themselves as best they could . The memory has never left me.  It taught me that the only safe place to be was in hiding. It is not a lesson which has served me well in adult life and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. Despite this I have had periods of  success and fulfillment during which  I have managed  to launch my girls upon the world, hopefully without too much of the damage that some parents inflict upon their young. Trusting others has been a major challenge. My partner has her own ghosts and anxieties and they control much of her life, but in her I have found someone with whom I can be more open and I thank her for it every day. She has given me a glimpse of safety and security which has allowed me to examine my past with less fear.

As I  get older I  feel  freer to explore more of the rooms in my house. This story is not a unique one.  We never know were the nourishment or support may come from which enables us to re-examine ourselves in a more positive light.  When it does, the discovery is beautiful to behold. So many of us share a similar history  although  the events may be different for each of us.

More than anything my life has taught me the value of compassion. That forgiveness is the better part of understanding.  It informs many of my actions and to each  of you in your lives, and  in my own,  I pray that you experience the hand of friendship and understanding. My we all find the peace and security we  crave.


About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

Trying to remember what my future is
This entry was posted in character, childhood, community, creative writing, Environment, Relationships and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to We Live in a House of Many Rooms

  1. afroblush says:

    Wow, that was very touching to read! I read a lot of blogs, for not just content, but images, photography and all the other glits and glamour. But Counting Ducks must be the only one I read so attentively, just for the words.

    Something I will take from that ” forgiveness is the better part of understanding. It informs many of my actions and to each of you in your lives,”

    Thanks 🙂


  2. afroblush says:

    Reblogged this on AFROBLUSH and commented:
    This was very touching. A must read if you will…


  3. This is a beautiful thought provoking post and one that I appreciated reading today, especially, as of late, I feel as though I have been trying to “empty the pond with a teaspoon”. I like the images you use in this post. I might just tiptoe around my ‘house’ and open some of the doors and have a peak. Hopefully I will be able to close some of them with forgiveness and understanding. Thank you so much for this. Truly wonderful.


  4. Wow. Thank you! I feel deeply honoured to be reading your words tonight.
    Your words are always bound by wisdom, but to me, wisdom of the heart is the most powerful force on earth and that’s what I am taking from this wonderful piece x


  5. Abby says:

    I love your posts so much, and they speak to the way that I feel on so many levels. ”
    So many of us share a similar history although the events may be different for each of us.” Exactly, and the interesting thing is that two people can experience the very same thing in completely different ways. We can learn from it all–the mistakes and success–not just our own, but of others.

    And like you, I would like to think my life has also taught me the value of compassion. Applying that to myself is the hardest part for me, but I try to do as much every day. Thank you for sharing your thoughts 🙂


  6. Ducky,
    what a beautiful post to wake up to.

    There are MANY rooms I’ve not stepped into…Perhaps today, I shall.




  7. Deana says:

    Reblogged this on Redemption's Heart and commented:
    A very touching piece from a blogger friend over seas. Worth the read


  8. Deana says:

    Well done Peter – I love this. Thank you for sharing.


  9. barbara says:

    It does ultimately come back to trust and forgiveness, doesn’t it Peter? Both are so difficult to submit to. Beautifully written.


  10. Al says:

    Ducks, I suspect that with this post you have well provided many of us with the master key to open those rooms. Now, if we’re only willing to turn the knob. A hauntingly accurate portrayal of our inner selves. Thanks for writing this.


  11. nelle says:

    CD, for all the great posts you write, this is my favourite. I’m in a country that has some trying to steer our policy away from a sense of civilisation, of Hillary’s it takes a village, towards advocacy of a society where health care is a privilege, where wearing a gun is somehow declared holy, where we mock the unfortunate.

    We’re in a fight for our collective soul. Not all of us buy into this model. I have hope we prevail in elections. Still, the undercurrent is strong. I stand with those compassionate and empathetic, who wish to pool our efforts for common good, and leave no one to live or die in isolation.


  12. aawwa says:

    Lovely blog – very thoughtful 🙂


  13. Hmm. Thought-provoking, CD. Thanks for the shout out and unspoken invitation to open the blinds. Will get on it. Your comment: “It taught me that the only safe place to be was in hiding,” reminds me that this route is the one that so many of us choose. I imagine that the way I live now is with as much seclusion as I need to prep and rest and decompress — mixed with the short (1-3 hours at a time) spans of being with others “full-on” doing exactly what I want and need to be doing. Your writing is deep and yet simultaneously barely scrapes the surface of your complexity. Post will be forthcoming.


  14. Peter, it takes a great deal of courage to shine light on the many rooms of our personal house. You did that here in one of the most personal essays I’ve ever read of yours.

    All of your essays touch something deep inside me because they are from somewhere deep inside of you. This one, though, this one was different. You shared something more of yourself. You weren’t just speaking in generalities; you spoke about your experience. The willingness to do so with such honesty is a gift.

    Thank you. Thank you because you are right, “so many of us share a similar history.”


  15. Julie says:

    You are such a fine writer. I’d even like to say excellent. I think the thing I like the most about your posts is when you forget a period or mispell a word. It’s very indearing because as I read, it doesn’t matter. This post actually brought tears to my eyes because it contains meaningful content, compassion, inspiration and it bridges a gap. It IS, as Lorna stated, about forgiveness. I have no doubt you’ve sent your girls off to this world with wings. Your partner is a keeper, your writing, just lovely.



  16. Caroline says:

    Love this post. Exploring the rooms can be very enlightening. The rooms are there for a reason and opening the doors when you’re ready to do so therapeutic


  17. eof737 says:

    This is a brilliant piece; vivid with rich imagery and deeply felt points that will sing in the ears of many… I’m waxing poetic but your post is a masterpiece… We do live in a house of many rooms and sadly, many of those rooms are locked for all sorts of reasons. Some can’t even find their way to the rooms, while some others stay bloated by their belief/delusion that they have all their rooms lit… You are a blessing and thank you for this profound piece of wisdom. 🙂


  18. Ina says:

    🙂 All of the above!


  19. This is quite possibly the most brilliant thing I’ve ever read on WordPress. Thank you.


  20. Writerlious says:

    Beautiful post. Compassion and forgiveness aren’t given enough lip service. 🙂


  21. backonmyown says:

    Wow, Ducks. This is profound. Some of those rooms are very difficult to explore. I’ve had to open a few doors very tentatively, but once they’re opened, the opportunity to heal presents itself. Thanks for another wonderful post.


  22. Lady E says:

    What a beautiful post… And it’s lovely to get a better glimpse of who’s hiding behind Counting Ducks. So glad you have found your peace and some safety at last. And as you said so well “May we all find the peace and security we crave.”


  23. So much in this post to consider–the opening is such a powerful statement of how we cheat ourselves out of the possibilities of our personalities and talents … out of the exploration of those things. Very revealing and enlightening. I have been a writer, a person, in hiding too, and it is hard to emerge, to expose ourselves (though I’ve often considered how the hiding seems to long to do just that …). But your honest writing here shows how personal reveal-ation can offer revelation to others. I so enjoy your writing!


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