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Rev. Sandra Schubert

Lessons, Lessons, Life is Just
One Big Classroom After All

by Rev. Sandra Lee Schubert

"We ought not to look back unless it is to derive useful lessons from past errors, and for the purpose of profiting by dear-brought experience." --George Washington, First president of US

What are we learning?

We go to work, do our shopping and meet with our friends.  We are doing what we are meant to do, we are living.

There are all the little things we learn that we donít even think about.  As children we learned how to walk, talk and how to ask for what we needed.  Later we learn simple things; how to cut an onion without crying, that sneakers are better then wearing heels when walking 40 city blocks.  We discover we like pop better then classical music.  There are the multiple of life skills we acquire over the course of our life.  

School is never over.  The 4th grade science teacher may no longer be breathing down our necks but we are still learning.  Sometimes the lessons smack us upside the head with their impact.  Others times it is a slow subtle journey to enlightenment.  The best teachers are the ones who take us on a journey.  In college there was a favorite instructor who gave out the facts on American history.  But she also gave us so much more.  She told juicy tidbits that the average history books didnít.  The founding fathers were living breathing real people and they were heck a lot more interesting then what the books had to say about them!

The best lessons not only give us information but have us grow.  We learn best when we are willing students.  We donít always know when we are right in the middle of a life lesson.  It is only later with time and hindsight do we realize what we learned.

Over dinner with a friend we discussed the highs and lows of life and relationships.  We had war stories to tell.  We had both been through the dark side of romance and come out the other side.  We had our scars and regrets and also gained strength and experience.  With that experience we could look at our lives and know some of our strengths and weaknesses.  What do we want from life now?  How do we want to be in the world?  Despite time and life experience under our belt we still had things we wanted to learn.  We both knew we had let the past experiences restrict us.  We have thrown up roadblocks to current and possible future encounters. We could both agree this was not how we wanted to live into our futures.  The past life lessons had let us see that we still had more to explore.

The idea of life as lesson always to be learned can chafe at us.  Growing is not what we want to think about all the time.  Canít we just move through life without it always having to be about learning?  We may resist this idea but we canít really get away from it.  We are creatures that constantly change.  We acquire knowledge and information as we go along.  We really canít help it.  We donít always evolve.  We gather information and donít use it wisely.  I remember someone telling me he learned more about crime when in prison for a minor offense.  He learned many skills and but not that crime didnít pay. No matter if his occupation was on the straight and narrow he still was a wheeler and dealer, always a bit of a con man.  We can be redeemed.  Or we can continue to live in darkness.

"Mistakes are a part of being human. Appreciate your mistakes for what they are: precious life lessons that can only be learned the hard way. Unless it's a fatal mistake, which, at least, others can learn from." --Al Franken, Oh, the Things I Know, 2002

Our lives can be a conscious choice.  We can choose to take advantage of it and learn all the things we need to do.  Like school we can accept just whatís in the books or discover what else there is to be revealed. 

An Exploration:

Think of the stories of Americas founding fathers.  They were not just stick figures they had full lives.  They had troubles, doubts and misgivings.  Regardless they forged ahead creating a new world for all those who would follow.  In the book Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner the authors try to explore the hidden side of everything through demonstrating that the modern world is knowable if the right questions are asked.  The authors use economics as their basis to explore these ideas.  The stories are fun and interesting and you may like them or not.  But the point is the authors take standard assumptions and look at them from a completely different angle.  There may be facts but are the facts all we have to go on in explaining anything?  If you were to take the ďfactsĒ of your life and turn them upside down what might you discover?  We live our lives following a story line as if cast in stone and unchangeable.  When in fact the storyline could be recast and the drama may end differently then what you originally thought.  Think about how you envisioned your life as a young child.  Did you think you would grow up and be a ballerina, a firefighter?  Did you imagine you would grow up and have a fancy wedding with lots of lace and a life partner?   

How have you lived up to these expectations?  Maybe your talent was not in ballet but in science.  The fancy wedding is a solo life lived in the mountains.  You may think you have learned your life lessons.  But what have you learned really?  Can you look at your life with new eyes and new questions and discover you have learned something different then you thought? 

Our life lessons can empower us.  They can also torment us. But they are lessons we can learn when we apply conscious choice to them.  We should always be ready to be surprised by what life has to offer.  Ask questions.  Look for new information and transform you life one lesson at a time.

© Copyright 2006 Rev. Sandra Lee Schubert.  All Rights Reserved. 

Rev. Sandra Lee Schubert
Rev. Sandra Lee Schubert is an interfaith minister, writer and founder of Wild Woman Ministries and Wild Woman Network a forum to explore and express creativity and spirituality. As a minister and coach, Rev. Schubert helps people discover and unlock their creative potential -- through creating art, producing classes and workshops or just pursuing a life long goal -- and is committed to assisting people in fulfilling their dreams. She also leads workshops and facilitates a popular writing program called the Wild Angels at the historic Cathedral of St. John the Divine.  Her subscription e-course - Writing for Life: Creating a Story of Your Own, is available: http://www.selfhealingexpressions.com/courses.shtml Email:  wwn@wildwomannetwork.com, or visit www.wildwomanministries.org.  212-642-5042




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