Do you remember that diddly from childhood? “Today is Monday /Today is Monday / Monday washday/ Everybody happy?/ Well I should say…”
I went in search of the words this morning (I have no idea why) and discovered they are very, very different than I remember.
That’s the trick of memory. What I remember is not always what actually happened, or was said, or seen. Yet often, I find myself defending my memory, especially in the face of someone else’s insistence I’ve got it wrong. They’re right.
I don’t like being wrong, and while I’d rather not make them wrong either (I’m pretty sure they they possess a seimilar aversion to being wrong as I do), I also don’t want to not be right!
Definitely a conundrum.
Defend my memory to preserve my need to not be wrong, or, release my position, move into the present moment to be connected in a joyful, peaceful way.
My beloved and I sometimes find ourselves in this pickle. He says. I say. You’re wrong. I’m right.
As my Auntie Marie-Therese used to say, “What to do? What to do?”
When I find myself defending my position more than seeking common ground, I know I have to give up space to the possibility of both of us remembering the same incident/conversation differently.
But I don’t want to. Not really.
I want to be right. Really.
And that’s when I have to ask myself, Would I rather be right than happy?
Being right might give me the dubious distinction of winning the argument. It does not give me the joy of deeper connection and intimacy with my beloved.
Now, don’t worry. This isn’t about a particular argument C.C. and I have had. I’d be writing this much differently if we had because instinctively, I’d be attempting to tell my side of the story in such a way that you would all see very clearly that I am ‘the right one’ and he is unequivocalbly WRONG. And of course, in my telling I would be the virtuous one and he’d be… well… still WRONG.
It’s not about a particular argument. It’s about my awareness of my desire in life’s sticky moments, to defend my position rather than seek understanding, connection, common ground — not just in intimate relationships but in other ones too.
And all of this awareness came from looking up the words of a nursery rhyme. I have no idea what prompted the search, but there I was, humming along to “Today is Monday” and finding myself on this Tuesday morning reading words to a song I know I sang differently.
Which led me further down the rabbit hole to where I found a version that actually does resemble the words I remember! Whew! I wasn’t completely wrong. Just hadn’t dug into the truth enough to find what I needed to feel comfortable in this moment.
And there’s the rub. It isn’t about being wrong nor right. It’s all about being comfortable with your truth and allowing others to be comfortable with theirs. Both versions of that nursery rhyme exist. Neither is right. Nor wrong. They just are.
In an argument or sticky moment, there is truth in all things. And not all things are true.
Creating space for the truth in all things to be known, creates room for everyone to feel heard, and seen. And when we feel heard and seen, we feel valued.
I value my memories, they’ve hung around for awhile. I value the people in my life more, I want them in my life forever. I don’t really care which nursery rhyme is the one I sang, nor which one is right for today.
I care that in my quest to find the version I remember, I discovered an opportunity to deepen my journey into what is true for me in this moment right now. To paraphrase Mary Oliver, “This is my one precious life.” What shall I do with it?
I shall live it savouring each moment right now, diving into what rings true in my heart so that the world around me becomes a more tender, loving, caring place.
It isn’t what I remember that gives meaning to my life. It’s what I do, hear, say, how I respond to memory and experience in the here and now that creates a world of difference today. When my relationships are rich and deep, when they are founded on mutual respect, trust and integrity, it doesn’t matter what words someone uses to a song. It matters only that our hearts are singing, together.