Thursday, September 12, 2013

Precious Learnings

I continue to be fascinated by life and potentially what it can teach us.  Each new day I try to be open to the wonder of it all.  Looked at this way, I can appreciate all of life.  Seen this way, life does not always have to be going well.  Health and wealth are not the only things that count.

For example, I am fascinated with babies and how they begin to grow.  I am intrigued both by what we learn and how we learn.  I am disappointed when I squander my chance to learn, when I close down and shut off God and God’s world.

A long-time friend of mine, Gene Roop, has written a book of reflective poetry entitled, Heard in our Land: Prayers of Life.  One prayer I very much like he calls “Precious Learning’s.”  It begins, “Thank you, God, for those who share their experience, the most precious learning’s from their life.  How to trim trees and enjoy a meal; how to plant seeds and play with a lover; how to care for a friend and respond to hate; how to express anger and mend torn clothing.  Grant us, God, patience.”

When I hear these words, I am thankful to God for all those folks in my life who have taught me---and still teach me---by sharing their precious learnings.  I think about my now-deceased dad who taught me how to play baseball and basketball and, whom late in his life, I taught to play golf.  I think about my grandpa who taught me early lessons about grace and generosity.  He was just a farmer.  He taught me how to plant cornfields.  All those are now only memories, but the precious learnings are still very much a part of my life even this day.

Precious learnings also come with educational degrees and, more often than not, simply from the school of life.  For example, I may have learned as much from my cancer, as I did from Harvard!  And Harvard certainly did not teach me what having cancer did teach.  God has given you and me life.  Too many of us treat life like the school we may have hated.  It would be misfortunate to hate life in the same way as school. 

God gives us life---not to hate---but to love.  I don’t want to squander that.  And probably you do not want to squander your life either.  God even chose to become human and show us how to live and love.  As Jesus, God has given us precious learnings.  He shows us how to be helpers and healers.  God gives us each other to share our experience---our precious learnings from life.

Now that is an interesting way to see all the people with whom I will come into contact today.  They potentially are all in my life to share experiences.  They might well be my teachers offering precious learnings, if I will pay attention.  Only a few of them are legitimately labeled as teacher or professor.  But students, co-workers, store clerks, etc. all qualify as educators in the school of life, capable of offering me precious learnings. 

Lord, give me the openness and capacity to learn today.  You can, too.

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