Short stories: John never learns. Is each experience really a learning experience, or not?

spiritedStarred Page By spirited, 23rd Nov 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Short Stories

John has an appointment at a church that he first visited more than ten years ago.

He looked up the name of the street in his street directory, and finding it there, he worked out a way to get there.

“This is a piece of cake,” he had initially thought to himself, but if you bake your own cake, you usually are the one who has to end up eating it too.

John tries to find the old church in the mess of streets around him

It was early Sunday morning, and John consulted his street directory to get directions to the Saint Anne's catholic church, where the daughter of one of his wife's friends, was having her child baptised, that very morning, at 10 am.

Satisfying himself that he now knew exactly how to get there, John put the street directory back down again onto the coffee table, next to his TV. He made a mental note to himself, that he must put it back into his car before they leave, just in case he somehow forgot to bring it with him, he had thought.

Knowing his memory though, he then said to his wife, who was writing something on the card, and wrapping the gift, “Dear, can you put this street directory back into my car for me please, when you place that parcel into my boot.

They showered and dressed up, and by 9.00 am, they were already out on the road.

John was driving. There was no great problem finding the way to this seaside suburb, as he often passed through it, but it was over ten years since he had been to this particular church. In fact, it was for the wedding of this exact same girl.

John turned into Railway parade. He knew that's the way that he should go, according to the map. Then he knew that the church was in Austin road, but there was another small road that he had to turn right into first just before he then must turn into Austin road, with another right turn.

John asked his wife, “What was the name of the road we are meant to turn into here, dear?

His wife replied, “Well, you are the driver, I thought you were looking at the directory before we even left.

John stopped on the side of the road. It was pretty obvious that it was up to him to get them there on his own. “Well pass me the street directory then dear. Remember, I told you to put it back into our car, when you put the present for the baby in there, before we left.

I didn't hear you say that,” she rather defensively replied. “You were the one to take it out of the car the night before, you know.

Sure enough, the responsibility for placing it back into the car, had now been deflected straight flat-bung back onto John.

John started off his car again, perhaps when he came a bit closer to the road that he was meant to turn into first, he would recognise the name, he thought to himself quietly thoughtfully now.

Sure enough, as he approached the very next street, and peered scrutinizingly close at the name on the nearby post, it was the right one, “MacCrae” street.

"Miracles do happen," he reflected to himself, "But after all, we are going to a church though, I suppose."

John drove down this street, turned into Austin road then, and after this he drove along its entire length, looking for the church.

He went right to its end. No church could be seen, or found.

John's great frustration at not finding the church

John was at the end of the road, and he was also at the end of his tether.

What was John to do now?

No street directory to check, and his old car had no fancy GPS ( a tracking device) fitted to it either.

Right at the end of Austin road, John noticed that there was a now dirty, great, big, new freeway. John suddenly got himself an inspirational thought.

Maybe, just maybe,” he postulated to himself within his mind, “when they constructed this freeway, they cut off the end of this Austin road too. Maybe, there's a very small chance, that it actually continues now, as the same name, on the other side of this freeway.

John's wife was already posturing wildly with her hands, desperately crying out now to John, “We're lost, aren't we? What are you going to do now? The service starts in ten minutes time.

At least, they had left home in plenty of time in order to find this old church.

John retraced the steps (in his car, that is figuratively speaking) along the way that he had come before. He went back over the overpass, on Seafront road, on which he had crossed over before, in order for him to reach Railway parade before This road had taken him to the other side of the very wide freeway.

On the other side of the freeway was conveniently located another road, similar to Railway parade, and it was also running alongside that side of the freeway. John saw the humour in the name of this street. “whoever named it, must have been thinking of people like me,” he was thinking now to himself.

John somehow still managed to still retain his sense of humour, amongst all of his painful stress.

This street was called, “Blind” street.

John turned left into it now, and he drove along it. Lucky for him, when he had driven along it to about the same distance that he estimated that Austin road should be located, if it started again on this side of the freeway, there it was.

Austin road also continued on the other side of the freeway, after being interrupted by it, so inconveniently for drivers.

"Why didn't they just change its name," John speculated to himself. Then he answered his own question. "No, they never do take the simple, or most obvious solution now, do they."

Feeling mightily pleased with his ingenuity and sleuthing ability, John went down there, and not far down this road, he came at last to the church. He still had five minutes to go, before the service was to begin.

John parked his car, and they entered the church, without any further ado.

Sitting quietly on a pew now in the church, John at last had calmed down his racing mind.

Funny enough though, there were not many other people yet there at all yet in the old church.

John walked back into the foyer of the church to check the mass times now. He told his wife that he was just going to the toilet quickly, before the service started.

John looked at the notice board near the door. The mass was scheduled to start at 10.30 am, not 10.00 am, at all.

His wife had gotten the time wrong too. It was not actually starting until 10.30 am, it seemed.

John suddenly had a rather painful recall now from the past

John was sitting peacefully on his seat now, still thinking over the events that had just happened to himself.

"Which way did I come here last time?", he was thinking over and over to himself.

Why,” he now remembered, “Ten years ago, when I came down here for the wedding, that freeway was not even there then at all, was it? How could I be blamed then for this little mishap then?

No, no,” he thought to himself, as his old memories continued to poor into his old muddled brain, “That is not right. It was already there. I know that it was actually built, about fifteen years ago. I remember seeing the write-up about it in the local rag.

“I remember it clearly now. It was just not showing on my very old ancient street directory, then either. How stupid am I?” he said now to himself, slapping himself on the thigh very hard, “I made this exact same error last time that I came here too. When will I ever start to learn something from my past mistakes?

John was so very annoyed with himself.

He never learned from his past experiences.

John always thought, that surely he being the smart man that he was, that he could, and would, never make the same mistake twice. He never made a pencilled in reminder to himself in his directory about this then, back then, then, then either.

This would have helped him to twig to his mistake, but no, he never ever did anything like this to help himself in the future.

With this thought being held onto firmly in his mind though (the one that he could not make the same mistake twice, or that lightning never strikes in the same place twice), this is exactly what he always found himself doing, like it had now happened again, this time around too.

"Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever."

This quote is from the great Indian leader, Mahatma Gandhi, (1869 to 1948).

We should not hold anything back in our living then, but we should remember at the same time that all of our learning, once learnt, should last forever.

John's dream, the night before, should have woken him up to his not learning problem

The night before his trip, John had been dreaming that he was in a large tall building, up on the 17th floor, of that building.

He wanted to go to the toilet, but all the toilets on the seventeenth floor were occupied. John had then tried to go down to the next floor down, to the 16th floor, but the stairwells were blocked. They were under reconstruction.

Then John noticed a builders/workers rope ladder going through the floor to the floor below, so he climbed down that.

John went to the toilet, but then on coming back up, he found that now somehow, he was too big to fit through the hole (in the floor) any more.

John seemed to be fatter now, and this meant that he could not now fit through the small narrow gap in the concrete slab floor then. John found himself stuck fast, blocked from coming back up, and feeling very agitated about this, he woke up.

When we learn from our past mistakes, we will not make the same mistake then twice, in our future.

John was born actually on the seventeenth day of the month.

If you make more karma after you are born (as he did here by going down a floor) you can't be your fully real self again, until you rid yourself of it, and don’t make any more.

Love lives for you in its way for you, but when you forget how to live it that way, by your not being your real self and learning from your past mistakes, of course then you are doomed in a way, to keep repeating them, until you do finally learn.

Everything in your life is helping you to learn, from your dreams, to all of your waking experiences.

"Karma is not just about the troubles, but also about surmounting them."

Rick Springfield, an Australian singer & songwriter once said this.

And "surmounting them" of course is about learning from your mistakes!

Photo Credits:

All photos used in the compilation of this article belong to me, the author of this short story.


Catholic Church, Inspirational Thought, Karma, Learning, Learning Experience, Our Past Mistakes, Past Mistakes, Short Stories, Short Story, Street Directory, Your Waking Experiences

Meet the author

author avatar spirited
I have been interested in the spiritual fields for over thirty five years now. My writing is mostly in this area.

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author avatar Carol Roach
24th Nov 2015 (#)

yes it is important that we learn from our mistakes

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author avatar spirited
24th Nov 2015 (#)

Thanks Carol, it takes a certain disposition to admit to our mistakes, and then to learn from them, I think.

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author avatar Susan Hauck
25th Nov 2015 (#)

I agree, sometimes we have to learn to admit we all make mistakes b/c it's so essential to truly learning from them. Wonderful post!

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author avatar spirited
25th Nov 2015 (#)

thanks for commenting here Susan

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
25th Nov 2015 (#)

We come here with past karma and should try to overcome them step by step - we should not add to them further by repeating our mistakes, going around in circles like John did for a while!.

It is time we started learning from our collective karma too as otherwise our lives, generation after generation, will be futile.

Nice story Spirited that resonates with all - siva

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author avatar spirited
25th Nov 2015 (#)

thanks siva, you have a way of summing things up nicely.

We certainly repeat our mistakes collectively, mankind takes a long time to learn from the past mistakes of his forebears.

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author avatar brendamarie
29th Nov 2015 (#)

some people have to make the same mistake over and over again before they learn their lesson.

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author avatar spirited
29th Nov 2015 (#)

thanks brendamarie,

At least by the time they learn it, they have revisited it from many angles, and so hopefully they would then finally have moved past it, and then they can also better help others with the same problem, because they have experienced it from so many different circumstances, or angles.

Every repeat has something uniquely new in it I feel.

Love teaches us in ever new ways endeavouring to get through to us when its blocked from any one direction.

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author avatar Kingwell
5th Dec 2015 (#)

It seems that we rarely learn from our mistakes. Maybe it's because we usually won't admit that we've made a mistake. Good writing my friend. Blessings.

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author avatar spirited
6th Dec 2015 (#)

Thanks Kingwell, that's true, and others think that they have nothing much to learn anymore, thinking they know it all already.

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