Monday, February 13, 2012

Lessons I'd Rather Not Learn

Some things we learn by choice--like knitting! I have recently been working on a new stitch called a Baby Cable. I enjoy expanding my knitting knowledge and abilities. Even though I am trying to be very careful, I have already made several mistakes in this plum colored Baby Cable knit shawl. Some mistakes could be corrected, other mistakes were irreparable. Nevertheless, the end result will most likely be pleasing even if it is not perfect. Knitting is something that I am learning by choice.

But there are other things we learn  out of necessity. The first time our house flooded, David and I earned a Ph.D in insurance policies, water mitigation, and reconstruction. It wasn't stuff we particularly wanted to learn, it was stuff that life demanded that we learn. Some of that reluctantly earned knowledge will be transferable to our current situation. 

However, now we have a whole new dimension thrown into the scenario. This time, while applying the knowledge gained from our last flood, we have to learn how to be long-distance landlords negotiating a crisis that has affected not just us, but another family as well. Like my knitting, we've made some mistakes. We will do our best to fix the mistakes we can fix, and we grieve the fact that some mistakes just may be irreparable. Most of all, we will keep on trying to learn.

Part of the problem is that it took us a couple of weeks to realize that we had gone "back to school." We flunked a few tests for which we were clearly unprepared before we woke up to the fact that we needed to get busy and learn some things. We didn't choose to take this class; life simply enrolled us in it. We'd might as well start taking notes.

And while I learn these lessons that I would rather not have to learn, I draw inspiration from many who have gone before me into much more challenging schools of life. My mother had to learn to bury a daughter. My sister is having to learn to care for a disabled child. One friend is having to learn to manage her son's mental illness. Another friend is having to learn to be a single parent. Still other friends have had to learn to bury the dream of ever becoming parents at all. My long-time prayer partner has had to learn to live with MS, and she would say that that lesson is a piece of cake compared to other lessons she has been forced to learn.  

None of those people would have chosen those lessons, yet all have learned or are learning what God has put before them to learn. They have faced some of life's ugliest challenges, and they have done it without losing their love, their grace, or their senses of humor. I want to be just like each of them as I learn these lessons that I'd rather not learn. No, I never wanted to learn how to be a long-distance landlord during a crisis situation. I DO, however, want to learn how to engage in this learning process with hopefulness and faith. In that way, maybe God will make something pleasing out of this mess, despite my imperfections.

1 comment:

  1. I think you nailed it! The lessons aren't about the circumstances and situations...they are about how we respond differently because of our relationship to a gracious, loving heavenly Father.
    I think you're a beautiful picture of how to respond...and therefore, of Christ.
    I love you, Jenn!