BETWEEN INNOCENCE AND EXPERIENCE
I posted these two pictures on the LIVELIEST and MOST INTELLECTUALLY STIMULATING whatsapp group I belong to. The gathering of super-creative minds. ELSA group – English and Literature Students Association group of the University of Benin. The first picture is me at graduation. The second picture is me just last month.
One of my classmates, Eddie Edemhanria looked at the pictures and tagged the first one THE AGE OF INNOCENCE and the other THE COMING OF EXPERIENCE.
A most fitting analysis.
I reconcile this analysis with William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience and see that it makes sense.
The characters in Songs of Innocence had undergone a dramatic transformation in Songs of Experience.
This teaches, like many other things that the era of Innocence cannot be the same as the coming of experience.
There were some principles you may have held dear in those years of Innocence that you cannot even entertain when you come of age and enter into the arena of experience.
Saint Paul said, When I was A CHILD, I spoke as a child but when I became A MAN, I put away childish things. (I Corinthians 13:11)
How beautiful the age of Innocence was. No cares in the world. Nestled in a loving mother’s bosom, cared for by doting parents. But when there is a crossover and the CHILD becomes a PARENT, it is a whole new world, another type of EXPERIENCE.
My classmate Anne Igbinovia, wrote this when she saw the first picture:
Alas the glowing ivory skin devoid of the harshness of the passage of time and layers of —–experiences
And Isioma Otutu, another classmate wrote this about the same picture:
I love this picture. Reminds me of the beauty of youthfulness. Even without makeup, looking so beautiful and innocent.
And I agree with them.
My youthful skin dripped Innocence. Eyes spilling determination. I looked ahead into a future loaded with greatness and I was set to glide into it.
Then I peer at my current look and it is a SPEAKING FACE. It tells many silent stories; of unfulfilled dreams and battles fought to regain a lost glory. It is a look of hope in a furnace of fiery trails. It is the look that Abraham of the Bible may have carried when against hope, he believed in hope.
Sometimes when we LOSE OUR INNOCENCE in the GRIP OF EXPERIENCE, we become bitter, disillusioned and hateful like a lady whose Innocence was taken by a rapist.
But this should not be so.
Our years of Innocence should strengthen us when we come into the realm of experience. Experience is a good teacher. Let it teach us well and make us BETTER, not BITTER.
And as I look at these two pictures, I resolve:
I cannot regain that LOOK OF INNOCENCE of bygone days but I can pray that with divine grace, I will come to a PLACE OF EXPERIENCE that will point me to A BETTER FUTURE.