“you can learn the easy way, or the hard way.”
i’ve heard that expression used often, and it’s true for the most part. we can try to learn our life lessons through the wisdom of those who have gone before us and common sense (i.e. “don’t touch that sweetie, you’ll burn your hand.”), and we can also learn those same life lessons through the school of hard knocks and traumatic experiences (i think i’ll just go ahead and touch it anyway!). i personally don’t like learning things the hard way – that just seems to be the only way my mind is able to learn.
but i’ve come to realize recently that this expression is not really complete, that you can learn things the easy way, and the hard way…and the not-so-hard way as well.
this past week has been a crime-ridden one for me and my family. last week, we discovered that someone had tried to jimmy open one of our kitchen windows while we were out for burgers. the next morning, our car was broken into and a few things stolen. yesterday, a $900 charge appeared on our credit card – we are thinking that this was linked to the break in at our car, that the thief found a receipt in our car and was able to charge something to our credit card. and to top it off, i was at a retreat this past week and THEY TRIED TO STEAL MY SCOOTER! too bad i use a kryptonite chain locked to a steel shackle that’s buried in one foot of concrete. haha, suckas.
but i have been pretty bummed about these events over the past week, along with some other tough personal developments, and so hit something of a tailspin. there was nothing good about the events of the past week, and perhaps i had some right to a pity party. but on further reflection, i had to admit that it could have been much worse. the thieves didn’t get into the house that afternoon. they only stole items of minor value from the car, and the money they charged to my credit card has been refunded to me. i remain the scooter lord of washington dc. i may be much more vigilant and wary about my life here in this neighborhood, but am not paralyzed with fear. and most importantly, my family is safe and sound. so i learned my lesson about being safe in this community, and it’s true that i didn’t learn it the easy way. but it’s equally true that i didn’t learn it the hard way either.
this thanksgiving, i think there’s something to be said for learning things the not-so-hard way, that it is a blessing that we frequently overlook. so often we write off these experiences as insignificant, or else we lack the perspective to realize how much worse things could have panned out. either way, we fail to find any greater purpose in such events and so miss an opportunity to see God’s handiwork in our lives. but for those of us who have such a hard time learning things the easy way (me), perhaps this is the best thing we could ask for, nothing less than a gift from God, and cause for worship. so i am truly thankful for learning things in this manner, because it sure beats the hell out of learning it the hard way. and these experiences are also a good reminder of the true character of God, that he takes no joy in our suffering, except that which is necessary to bring about greater good: