Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Never-ending Lesson

Apparently I need to have the same revelations over and over before they really stick (tell me you’re like that too—that you don’t figure something out and bam, on to the next thing because this one is no longer an issue for you.) Through teaching, parenting, being a wife, daughter, friend, sister—I keep coming back to two things: grace and process. As in, nobody’s perfect, and life is all about the journey. I know—can you get any more cliché? I’ve been hearing stuff like that for years, and it tends to sound inane when other people say it, but I’m starting to think that’s only because it’s one of those lessons everybody has to learn for themselves.

It’s sort of like how everybody says that being a mother is the hardest job in the world, and you nod and say, of course, of course it is, but you really have no idea what that means until you are lying awake in bed at night wondering how somebody as unqualified for the job as you was allowed to become a mother. And then it hits you, that this is why everybody says that. But at the same time you are thinking, why didn’t anybody tell me it was going to be so hard? I mean, they said it would be hard, but nobody warned me about THIS!

Nobody’s perfect. You learn by doing. You learn from your mistakes. Sometimes you have to learn the hard way. We’re all in this together. I’ve secretly scorned these over-used words. I knew they were true, but I didn’t get it. I was oblivious to the fact that these things I heard over and over again were like cries into the darkness—that people who had been there before me were trying to help me learn it a little sooner than they themselves did. But even though it’s possible to hear a thing once and take it to heart, I think more often we really do have to learn things for ourselves, and (oh, sometimes I hate this part!) we’re all on a different time frame.

I learn about grace because I find I personally need truckloads of it from others. I discover that my children and my students need to hear certain things a million times for the same reason I do—because some things apparently just need to be heard a million, maybe even a million-and-seven, times. I realize that you can’t rush things because the more I rush, the more I stumble. I accept that mistakes and wrong turns are part of the learning process mainly because I’ve learned so much from my own mistakes and wrong turns.

It is all a process. Much grace is needed. I tell myself over and over, and then I forget. The sooner I remember again, the better, but then I have to also remember that these things apply not just to others, but also to myself. That seems to be the main difference between panicking and moving forward from where we are.

So the clichés were all true. The only thing left is to go live out those truths—and learning how to do that, I guess, is a process. Grace to us on our journey.


  1. Well, said, Karen. And you'd think, with such intimate knowledge of how slow I am to learn, that I would automatically have lots of grace with my children while they learn. Sure wish I could get my brain to learn things firmly the first time!

  2. Love it! So true. Had to chuckle at the thought of how true the cliches are, yet we have to experience life in order to fully appreciate their accuracy. I think about that often with my teens--there is so much "wisdom-gained-from-experience" I would love to have myself and other pour into them so they could learn the easy way, and we talk and talk and talk, but sometimes I can just tell they aren't really going to "GET IT" until life teaches them. Just like my parents and grandparents tried to give me shortcuts and I persisted in taking the long route. sigh Thanks for sharing!


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