Days 12-17: Catching up on a week of missed prompts!
This is part of the UU Blogging Workshops’s Zero to Hero Series
The last week’s assignments: Write an inspired blog post, play with your blog roll, put up some graphics, create a writing prompt and leave some more comments…
Sorry friends… I’ve been lazy/absent/distracted over the last five days. However, here is my attempt at catching up!
A few weeks ago, the director of religious education at my church asked me to give a short talk on “wisdom.” My first thought was that he obviously didn’t know me very well. What can a 37 year old say about wisdom? Probably more than some and not as much as most. I found the task a little daunting, but of course I said yes. If Fred felt confident in asking me, than I should be confident enough to accept.
Moving up to this last Sunday, I wasn’t sure how I was going to do this. But like all great ideas, it came to me in the shower! I would reflect on some of my “not very wise” decisions, and then compare those with “perhaps a little more wise” decisions. Then figure out how they related to one another.
When I was younger, it was NOT very wise to tell my parents I didn’t eat all the fresh baked cookies my mother had just made. Especially since I was most likely covered in chocolate and cookies crumbs. I remember knowing it was wrong. I knew I would get caught. But I lied about it anyways, and felt horribly ashamed about it. This was not wisdom.
When I was in high school, I had an English class that demanded quite a bit of homework. Instead, I spent way too much time playing games on my computer. I knew I had to get the work done. I knew that I should study. I knew what would happen if I didn’t do it… but I procrastinated until the last minute and failed my class. Which meant that I had to take summer school to make up for the grade. This was the first time I had ever failed a class, and was definitely an example of “not wisdom.”
When I was in my twenties, I had way too much to drink one night and decided to drive anyways. Luckily I made it home ok. I did hit a curb and ruined my car’s alignment and wheel well, which cost quite a bit to fix. I knew better; but obviously nobody makes great decisions when they’re drunk. That night could have ended much worse… I could have killed somebody, or killed myself. THIS was not wisdom.
There are plenty other experiences I could write about. Each one an example of me knowing better but making a choice to do it anyways. This is called being a fool and I confess I’ve been a fool too many times than I’d like to admit.
But I have had some moments of wisdom! Making the decision to finally get my bachelor’s degree; that was a good life choice. Working hard to build a successful career in television was also a great decision. Realizing I had an amazing friend who loved me despite all my foolishness and having the courage to ask her to marry me was perhaps the wisest decision I’ve ever made.
Taking that leap of faith in giving up everything, my career and home and security, to serve with my wife in the Peace Corps because we would never have another time in our lives to do something so amazing and crazy and challenging: THAT was wisdom.
Having the courage to admit I needed to walk away from my Catholic faith and follow a new spiritual path, and then finding a Unitarian community of faith, passion, equality and freedom. THIS was wisdom.
So what is the difference between me playing the fool and making good life choices? I’ve come to identify that “wisdom” is taking what I know, and letting that knowledge be guided by my heart. However, it’s not just a one way street. It’s also taking the passions of my spirit, and running those intense feelings and emotions through my rational mind. In all the decisions I’ve made that have been positive and constructive, I had taken the time to let my mind and spirit have a conversation about my actions.
Perhaps wisdom is found in this conversation.
What do you think? Where have you found wisdom? I’d love to learn from you…