Conversations Magazine, March/April 2024

Conversations Magazine, March/April 2024

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

[SHORT STORY] Seeing Beyond

by Tiera Gilder

Late one evening, as a young lady walked down a narrow path trying to find her exit for the main road home, she came across a solitary rock. To her surprise, the rock turned toward her and asked, “Who am I?” After a moment of shock, she responded. “You’re a lonely, round talking rock…” The rock stared at her in disappointment, shook its head, and looked away. With nothing else more to say, she continued on her journey home.

Thoughts of her recent interaction with the rock were broken when she encountered a caterpillar perched on a sunflower. She was astounded when the caterpillar asked her the exact same question, “Who am I?” Not wanting to solicit the same dismissive reaction she received from the rock, she decided to give a more descriptive response, “You’re a cute, talking green caterpillar that can’t fly. Oh, and you love to eat sunflowers. Although, I will give you one piece of advice, you just might be damaging them…”

After responding, the young lady stood with a smile of satisfaction decorating her face. However, it was a complete contrast to the caterpillars’ frown of frustration and offense. The caterpillar curtly replied, “I see your vision is superficial and narrow-minded”, and then abruptly turned away.

By this time, the young lady was completely dumbfounded and slightly offended. Although the urge to give the caterpillar a piece of her mind was tempting, making it home before dusk was her priority. So she gathered her pride and sauntered away.

When she finally made it home, she rushed to the restroom to relieve her bubbly, upset stomach. She got comfy and cozy on the toilet seat and allowed her thoughts to drift. She reminisced over all of her accomplishments and relished over all that she planned to accomplish in the near future.  She was amazed by her many facets. Her thoughts of self-praise were immediately interrupted by a foreign voice saying, “ask me anything you like and I will answer.” Startled, the young lady searched the restroom for the origin of the voice, only to find her mirror staring back at her.

So, she decided to ask the Mirror on the wall the same question the rock and the caterpillar had asked her, “Who am I?” The young lady stood in expectancy, awaiting a great response. Based on her most recent thoughts, she knew she was a force to be reckoned with. But oh, was she ever wrong. It was the mirrors response that forever changed how she viewed others.

The mirror on the wall wisely responded, “Your misfortune is that you see people as they are in this moment, neglecting to appreciate all that they were and acknowledge all that they shall become. You see that “rock” was not just a rock. It’s a Cosmo of minerals that came together over centuries. It was once used as a cornerstone to hold up the first church in Africa, but migrated to the US years ago during the African Diaspora. It will soon be used to build a home for a displaced family. Oh, and that caterpillar may not be able to fly now, but in the coming days she will go through a metamorphosis and emerge a rare, beautiful butterfly. She will then play an essential role in adorning the valley with sunflowers through pollination. Without her, the sunflowers might cease to exist… If only you would have taken the time to go beyond the surface and discover their true identity.”

“Now, I will answer you through the same lens that you see others. So who are you, you ask? Well, you are a self-absorbed and full of crap… Oh, and you smell like sh!t too!!!”

***It’s a blessing God does not treat as we are in any given moment!

Want to give your feedback to author Tiera Gilder on Seeing Beyond? Contact her via email at

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