One of the greatest truths about this life is that we will always be learning stuff, which is good because there is so much stuff to learn. One of the worst truths about life is that we will always be learning stuff, which is not so good because sometimes it would be nice to rest and stay my stupid self for a while.

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I like the book learning part, even if my mind is becoming like a sieve as far as retaining things. Learning from a distance is always preferable and most comfortable. Imagination, abstract concepts and truths, pure thought as some would say, this always rues the day. That’s the learning for me. Unfortunately, this abstract learning is all hollow, all vanity under sun, without experiences and people. Yes, dirty, stinky, messy people, especially other people, always complicate things because they are also in the process of learning as well. So inevitably we have to share in our combined imbecility. And this is where we need some wisdom greater than ours. In most cases, this only requires a tiny adjustment here or a tiny adjustment there. But, Good Gravy! The distance we have to travel to gain that wee bit of wisdom can be arduous and vast.

The wisdom part or the “matters of the heart” learning, the higher learning, is the learning I like the least. First, because I have to eventually come to terms with the fact that there is something about me that is not as great as I think it is. Sure everyone else knows we have some annoying traits and weaknesses, that’s a given, but we expect them to keep it to themselves. And for the most part people modestly comply, very few will tell it to us straight. And even if they did on that rare occasion, when they weren’t talking mischief behind our back, give us the straight poop it is highly unlikely we’d listen because we love our own brand of insanity, insecurity and irrationality. It minimizes our pain for the present moment.

Ultimately, though, to gain that pearl of wisdom some pain has to be experienced, a burdened has to be carried, in order to wear down the thorns in our lives. For some reason, it is the only way we learn the deeper aspects of virtue, wisdom, or righteousness. This is probably why we learn most things in small doses. We would be in a world of hurt if it was otherwise. Our brains and our hearts would most likely explode and then it would be even harder to learn.

Begrudgingly, because I am slow, I have to admit this learning is always worth it. It’s nice once in a while to break the cycle of insanity, break free of our own cage of dense stone and for some brief moments in our lives secure some peace amidst the turmoil swirling around us. It’s nice to approach the same problems differently so that they are no longer problems anymore; it’s nice to let go of our favorite mistakes and our gaudy sins. It is also humbling to know that almost in every case when we can finally say goodbye to our friendly foibles that we had very little to do with their dismissals.

“And if men come unto me [Christ] I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.”