My momma has told me a couple times this saying she’s picked up somewhere, about mistakes and lessons. As she says, in life there are no mistakes, only lessons. Lessons are repeated until they are learned. When you learn a lesson, you get to learn a new one. And, above all, you never stop learning lessons; you keep on going right until you’re dead (or maybe even further).
Are the people who “get it right” all (or most) of the time the wisest among us? Or, does the luck mof the draw keep us from those character-forming pitfalls?
Gibran writes that sorrow is a force that “hollows you out” so that you can contain more joy. i’m seeing that failure and drama gives us opportunity to truly re-examine parts of our lives and characters which we might otherwise have overlooked.
Despite what some folks claim, i don’t personally seek out drama in my life. However, i’ve noted over the years that my passion, creativity, and (ultimately positive) introspection is sparked during and after periods of emotional turmoil in my life. As these “mistakes” become “lessons”, i’m allowed to learn that which i otherwise might avoid.
So too am i learning to look to the survivors as my mentors; those people who have failed, lost, and sunken, to not only survive, but to thrive, grow, and learn. Often in my hard times, i’ve sworn alot of “nevers”; “i’ll never trust again!”, “i’ll never do that again!”, “i’ll never love again!”, “i’ll never do this unless someone else does that…”, “i’ll never ignore the ‘warning signs’ again”, etc. i’ve found that “nevers” limit my growth, my movement, and my creativity (both artistic and emotional).
Who am i to say “never”? Anything and everything is always possible, and to deny that is to limit myself. To deny that is to fail the lesson, to doom myself to repeating it (the lesson). Transcendance does not come from avoiding actions, it comes from embracing and accepting them. By saying “never”, i avoid the lesson, not the outcome.
Last spring, i had a talk with Slacks. Slacks and i go waay back, and he’s always been there. He’s also had more than his fair share of failure and drama, especially with relationships. At the time, my relationship with my girlfriend was getting rougher and rougher. i hadn’t really wanted to discuss my troubles with anyone, but Slacks has a great ear, and there we were travelling together, with time to talk. He took in everything i said with a fair and unbiased ear. He didn’t take sides; he rebuked my harsher criticisms, and dampened my overt enthusiasms.
Later, i spoke with Kim and shared some of his insights with her. She totally dismissed them, in part because of her impression of Slacks as some antithesis of a relationship authority. Her standpoint was harsh, but to be fair, she really didn’t know him all that well. Looking back on that incident, i see Slacks as more of an expert than i, still. He’s had more chances to learn these lessons than most folks. Sure, he’s failed, but in becoming successful, in learning the lesson, he has had ample opportunity to see all the wrong ways to deal.
Another analogy is (of course) sea-faring in nature… The sailor who seldom sees foul weather, who has been blessed with a career of fair winds and following seas, and who has served on the finest vessels might well be regarded as a success. The veteran who has pitchpoled in the Southern Ocean, run out of provisions, and held together a rotten rig might well be regarded as a failure, but which of the two has had the greater experience? Which might be more relied upon when the chips are down?
The lesson i’m learning lately? Forgiveness…