The human mind is truly a fascinating thing, isn’t it? Our brains have all this capacity to process information, classify, categorize and the like. We can store information; retrieve memories and even combine multiple ideas to form new conclusions. Yet with all of this unlimited mental technology at our fingertips, what do we do? We let the thing run on autopilot! You know what I mean! We opt for less thinking and let our minds run off of previously stored information. It’s kind of like finding a good way to drive to work and then driving that way every day. That’s perfectly fine I guess if our first conclusion is enduring, but what happens when there is a need for change? Or, what happens when we are just plain old bored to death with that same route? I think that supplies an apt metaphor for human beings; a class I belong to with great pride. We learn things relatively early on in life (when the time seems ripe for learning) and sort of carry those ideas with us wherever we go. Of course that is fine if those ideas are good or “enduring” but what if they aren’t? What if we are applying a lesson of adolescence to adulthood, or worse a lesson of young adulthood to middle age? What if we have classified so much information that we just don’t need to learn anymore?
My mom used to tell me over and over how smart I was. At some point, I believed her and now sit here typing with the intellect of a genius (hey, it’s my mind!). Point being, that not all lessons previously ingrained need revision. However, many things do need revision. That black hole of negative conclusions we also formed, those babies need not only revision but elimination. Just because you have told yourself for twenty-five years that you have to struggle in life because of (_________fill in the blank) doesn’t make it any more true than the first time you considered it! Just because Sally wouldn’t dance with you at the prom when you were fifteen doesn’t mean that Sally wouldn’t dance with you today; or that you are “unlucky” in love! Okay, I digress… Life has been designed (passive voice intended) to function as one large, never-to-be-exhausted classroom with an infinite variety of opportunities for learning. Those opportunities are literally all around you. The issue isn’t their existence but rather our capacity to see them. Seeing as God is the ultimate source of supreme intelligence, it makes sense to my little old brain that He might be constantly employed in teaching us stuff. Have you ever heard the phrase, “everything happens for a reason?” Well, I hate to be a “Debbie-Downer” but while everything happens for a reason is true, not everything happens for a good reason! But you see, our auto-pilot brain just accepted that expression and led us to believe that everything happens for a good reason! Now we find ourselves in the curious dilemma of trying to find the good in inherently disastrous situations, where no good thing exists. (Auto-pilot, numb brain, illogical at best!) The lesson in a terrible, negative consequence is to never do that “thing” again, not to try to find the good in it. God, who is light, (and in Him is no darkness at all) doesn’t need evil to teach you a lesson anymore than you need to teach your children by doing bad things to them! God, who is also pure love, seeks to teach you (and me) lessons that will help us win in life. He knows your issues; He hears your heartfelt petitions and He has cleverly (understatement) placed things all around you to help you to learn. Your job; my job is to pay attention! But before we have any shot at paying attention, we have to unload that giant weight called “I already know” and seek to understand. We have to humble ourselves and recall our “heart of a child” where we saw the most success. Have you ever been privileged to spend any time with a four-year old? Those little boys and girls are fertile fields of learning. Sure they can be easily led astray with their lack of life experience, but how many of us are being led astray because of (not in spite of) our life experience? How many of us have allowed our minds to idle down and simply stopped questioning things?
Interestingly, there is a huge, inescapable link between learning and happiness. Learning new things makes us happy. Rehearsing old things drives us nuts and sucks the very life out of us! In order to continue growing in life we have to continue learning. Can you even imagine that at age 51 you have learned all of the useful information there is to know? Silly huh? How about 74? Happiness, true happiness comes from the adventure that is this life. And, it is proportionately as adventurous as is your capacity to want to learn. So my advice to you is make the decision to learn again. Don’t allow the “media-age” to define, classify and categorize your life! 20 year olds aren’t yet smart enough to know they can’t do everything they think they can do. We should all be that smart, right?! The truth is that you and I can do just about anything we think we can do, if we are willing to learn something new. We don’t need to attend Harvard necessarily, but instead seek to understand. You can escape a “whole-lotta” trial and error if you get God involved. And, God’s middle name is “Happy” – so maybe we should start there? (LOL not end there after 30 years)
At the end of the day, our happiness depends not so much on what we have, but rather on what we are learning. Life is an exciting adventure! “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose!”
Just some good thoughts…