I have been tested over the past two years; in fact, it has sometimes seemed as if my life were composed of nothing but tests. No sooner had I put my metaphorical pen down from one ghastly multiple choice paper than another was thrust under my quaking nose.
It has, at times, felt like doing twelve A’level exams in subjects with which I am not just unfamiliar, but for which I have received no prior tuition or warning! And, even as a girl, I was bad at exams!
Was I tested to destruction? It sometimes felt, and still feels, like it.
But, if you look at the two images below, I think a very different picture emerges. When we are tested in the crucible, we either melt or become stronger – and I like to think that my gesture in the first photo is positive and creative, a form of, ‘Here I am, letting the light flow through both hair and upraised left hand!’ The person in that light-filled room is not looking despair or failure in the eye.
It is an affirmation, in pictorial form, that I will NEVER let the testing darkness close my curtains or dull the brightness of my hair, or crush my spirit into dust!
The second, taken in Crete and showing me, unusually, sun-tanned, shows a far more subtle winnowing by life’s tests – and I am not going to comment further than that; I am going to leave you to make up your own minds!
The fact is that I have not passed all my tests. Some have resulted in failure. Some have shown weaknesses in my strength, my resolve, my knowledge or my assertiveness.
But, I have not shirked. I have never left the exam room, or written only my name and nothing else. I have tried my best even when natural aptitude was not there to assist me!
It seems to me, now the results are in (as you might say), that we judge our tests wrongly: It is not about how many A* grades we end up with; it is about the collaboration, the learning, the taking part, the courage, the opening of closed minds…
…and, with those in mind, I consider that I have succeeded beyond my wildest dreams, even though I have – in the world’s eyes – only achieved D grades in some of the tests!
With that mix of achievements, I have CREATED (as, I believe, I was born to do)…
…and that creation, now whirring into life, can only grow in strength and vision and reality!