Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee were born on the exact same day, in the exact same year, at the exact same time, in neighbouring villages of the exact same country. They had the exact same kind of parents, went to the exact same same school in the exact same class and for some uncanny reason their whole lives followed the exact same path. They had the same careers, had the same amount of friends, got married in the same year, had children at the same time and lived identical average lives where nothing really bad ever happened to them.
The only difference between Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum was that Tweedle Dee was a jolly sort of fellow who chose to look at the good in things whereas Tweedle Dum was an anxious man who chose to focus on the worst.
You’d think this wouldn’t be such a big difference but in fact it was. You see, when Tweedle Dee’s parents got it wrong and messed up – like all parents do – he could see they loved him anyway and he knew they would do their best to take care of him. Tweedle Dum though, felt great fear and resentment about the things his parents didn’t manage to provide for him and he didn’t trust them to get it right – even though he knew they would do their best to take care of him.
When Tweedle Dee’s father shouted at him or his mother shut herself in her room because she felt it was all too much for her Tweedle Dee wouldn’t feel good, but he would remind himself that they loved him and that pain is temporary. He knew everything was actually ok and that he would eventually be ok – even if bad things happened. He knew this because his mother had told him so many times.
When Tweedle Dum’s father shouted at him or his mother shut herself in her room because she felt it was all too much for her Tweedle Dum would feel hurt, abandoned and bereft. He worried there was something wrong with him that made them behave that way. He felt constant fear of what would happen and if he would ever be ok. Even though his mother had told him many times that everything was ok and that he would be ok – even if bad things happened – he couldn’t relax and believe it. So he worried and he fretted and as he grew up he was often grumpy and angry with his parents for the things they did. The very same things Tweedle Dee chose to see as flawed expressions of love, he just saw as flawed.
While Tweedle Dee felt he grew up in a loving home with humans who were just trying their best, Tweedle Dum felt his needs were unmet by his flawed parents. Adolescence was a rich time for Tweedle Dee and an anxious, awful time for Tweedle Dum in the same type of family, in the same school, in the same town, at the same time.
Tweedle Dee believed people are generally good and Tweedle Dum believed people are out to get him. Tweedle Dee believed life supported him and Tweedle Dum felt life was against him. Tweedle Dee believed in a benevolent higher power who watched lovingly over him and Tweedle Dum believed he was all alone in the world. Tweedle Dee believed life is supposed to be fun and Tweedle Dum believed life is hard. Tweedle Dee believed money will come as needed and Tweedle Dum believed money is scarce.
So as they lived out their exact same lives Tweedle Dee was having a wonderful time, feeling blessed and abundantly provided for with his exact same amount of money in his exact same type of house with his exact same type of wife and children as Tweedle Dum who was having a tough time of it, feeling scared and anxious, resentful and deprived.
Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee grew old and grey, one feeling blessed by all he had lived and still enjoying everything around him and the other miserably wondering if this suffering would ever end. On the exact same night each man woke in the middle of the night at the exact same time and knew it was time to die.
Tweedle Dum was struck with fear and panic. What was going to happen to him? The unknown was terrifying. He had never known for certain he would be ok. He had lived his whole life terrified of what bad things might come his way. None ever did – but he had always been prepared for the worst, just in case. Now he was finally being faced with ‘a bad thing’. It was going to get him! His life flashed before his eyes, full of things and people he had not had time to enjoy yet. He wasn’t ready. It didn’t feel right. His needs hadn’t been met yet. He was scared, terrified. He fought, fought hard and died, face twisted in fear.
Tweedle Dee was washed over with a sense of joy and well-being. He felt a sort of excitement. Something big was about to happen to him. He reviewed his rich life and felt so blessed for all he had experienced, learned and enjoyed. He felt the loving presence of the Unknown calling him home and was excited. He trustingly let go into love and died joyfully with peace on his face and a smile on his lips.
The exact same life, the exact same life events – completely different experiences, just because of perspective.
We can choose to be more like Tweedle Dum or more like Tweedle Dee.
What do you choose?