When you graduated (or quit) high school, did you think you were done with teachers?
When you moved the tassel on your cap at the graduation ceremony at college, did you think you were through with professors?
When you finished the last coursework toward a graduate degree, were you sure that you wouldn't be dealing with instructors anymore?
If you're like me--a human being--think again.
I constantly find myself taking instruction, from all sorts of aides to the Teacher.
Let's start with the first thing in the morning. The birds are already up, already singing. I think they do it as their form of praise to God. And I've noticed birds singing when it's hot, when it's cold, when it's windy, when it's raining, etc. They sing ALL THE TIME.
What can this teach me? Hmmmm...
Continuing on with our bird observation, they peck at the ground, and they peck, and they peck, and they peck. I've wondered what their success percentage is--how many worms (or other tasty morsels) do they get out of all those pecks? Not many, but they never quit pecking. (And, to review our last lesson, they also never quit singing...)
And the conclusion to be drawn, fellow students, is what?
These two lessons come to us from the world of our fine, feathered friends, and any quick glance into the animal kingdom can teach us so much! The mind boggles at all of the marvelous ways they adapt, adjust, and survive.
My personal favorite aspect of observing other creatures is to note the defense system. God has been so very creative in arming some of the animals with their very own unique way of getting out of scrapes: the skunk, the porcupine, the blow fish, and the chameleon immediately spring to mind, and certainly thousands of others add so much to our world!
Is there a lesson to be learned here? Sure: God could have made all the animals brown, the same size and shape, making the same sound, having the ability to run fast as a mechanism of escaping danger, and left it at that. I believe the sheer variety of beasts (air, land, and sea) exhibits God's love toward us. He didn't want us to be bored during class, you see. And we are still discovering new species, never before known, and living examples of old species, assumed to have died out long ago.
And do any of us encounter lots of variety in our life experiences? You know, just to keep it interesting?
I've had a Teacher's aide pop into my life uninvited.
I lost my dad in 1988, with no warning. Just as suddenly, I found myself enrolled in the heavy coursework of mourning, with Grief acting as an aide to the Teacher. The Instructor and I worked through the big question of "Why?," then moved on to "Do you really care about me, about us, God?" Classes included "Dealing with Loss," "Feeling Unable to Continue," and "How to Best Help Others Who Are Also Hurting." Many also take a really fun seminar called "Dealing with 'Arrangements' and Paperwork." None of these are electives--pretty much no one ever chooses to take these classes, but almost everyone goes through them at some point in their lives.
And Grief is such a persistent aide! Even when you think you're done with him, he surfaces again, unbidden, years later! Decades later! Just for a little pop quiz, to keep me on my toes.
My current course of study, also not an elective, is being taught by God's assistant, Unemployment. We're reviewing old lessons (from the last time I was in his class) about trust, perseverance, faith, hope, flexibility, and a very special class in the mathematics area called "God's Addition."
I would like to take my finals in this subject matter as soon as possible, so I can move on to my next level of education in life, "Making Adjustments," taught by Change. I hear he's a tough professor, and that his classroom rules are really hard to follow!
After that is "Fitting into a New Group Socially," team-taught by Grace and Humor, and then I'm not sure what's ahead for me.
The good news is that all of the aides are required to check with God before flunking anyone, and God Himself has provided a full-time tutor in the form of the Holy Spirit.
See you in class!
July 18, 2004