Well...here's another way to look at "lessons" as a story...
I was living in Chicago, making the rounds of the casting calls for actors and dancers. Chicago is a big city, but the local theatre community was small. Many of us knew each other and saw each other at the same auditions over and over.
Occasionally, we would meet someone new - Carpe Diem! It was on the edge of winter; cold and slushy. I had trekked downtown for another "cattle call" audition, I can't remember for what. Maybe it was for a commercial, or a film, it mattered not. What mattered was that I met a girl. A brunette with soft eyes and an engaging smile. Somehow, I managed the courage to talk to her. I even asked if she wanted to get some coffee after the audition. I was surprised at myself for being so bold.
Janie and I seemed to hit it off as we sat in a small coffee shop/deli downtown. She was going to college at the University of Chicago. She was trying to "break into the business". I, on the other hand, had been fortunate enough to have done some dinner theatre, and also taught dance. I surprised myself again when I asked her out to dinner - a date!. Perhaps even a bigger surprise was that she said, "Yes"! We made the plans, exchanged numbers and parted. I didn't care at all about that audition or whether or not I would get a "call-back". A date with Janie seemed even better.
Two days later I was dressed-to-the-nines, and went off to pick her up at her dorm on campus. It was raining, not hard, sort of medium. I entered the reception foyer and told the gal at the desk who I was there to see. She called up to her room and I waited. I waited a little more, and then...some more. I asked at the desk again, then waited, again.
Eventually someone came down. She said she was Janie's roommate. She didn't know where Janie was. Apparently, she had gone somewhere earlier in the day and had not returned yet. I was immediately concerned about her safety, as it was raining. "Do you think she is okay?" The roommate responded, "I'm sure she is fine, but that's all I know." I wrote my number down for her - just in case Janie had lost it. "Please have her call me when she gets in." With a sad and worried heart, I drove back home in the rain. I called a couple of times that night, but the roommate said that she had not returned yet. Now I was really worried!
Just a note here: this was a LONG time ago...no cell phones, no message machines, no texting. Just a phone attached to the kitchen wall, with a long reciever cord.
The next day was Saturday and I had not heard from Janie. Mid-morning, I called. The roommate answered again and said that Janie had come back and that she had been given the message to call me. Hmmm. I wondered why she hadn't called. I still wondered if she was really okay. I reiterated the desire for her to call me so I would know what happened. There was no call the rest of Saturday.
On Sunday I tried again, with similar results. I was told that she had been given all the messages, but was not returning my calls. I even queried the roommate about her condition. "Was she okay? Was she in an accident?" No information was forthcoming. I called a few more times on Sunday, until...
Perhaps you are wondering how I could have been so stupid? Eventually, I wondered the same thing. "How did I not get it? What a fool. What an idiot!" How could someone who had been so nice and had such a cute name as "Janie" have stood me up? A "Tiffany" I might have understood, but "Janie"? I didn't understand why. Suddenly, I realized that I would never know why.
I'm almost at the end of the story now. You may be wondering, "What changed as a result of this? What lesson did I learn?"
Here's the answer, and sometimes, for a good story, it's okay to NOT learn a lesson.
Because in this story, I DIDN'T learn my lesson. Oh, I have been stood up many times since, but each time I, again, believed the girl had not brushed me off. I always believed something "else" went wrong, or stood in the way. And yes, I was often wrong in my beliefs. But was I "wrong" to believe the best? Was I "wrong" for not having "learned my lesson - Once burned - twice shy?"
Maybe I actually DID learn a lesson, though; perhaps I learned that I have a "choice" as to whether to expect and see the best in people, or whether to "expect" to be stood up. When given the choice, I will always choose the former.