A person never stops learning! I am as many of you know, back in school learning that 1. you are never too old to learn something new, and 2. to quote Socrates, 'I know that I do not know?' So I am attempting yet again to fill in the gap, to learn a little more.
The one thing that always seems to amaze me is that lessons are not always learned in the classroom. Lessons are taught and learned every day, from the moment we awaken to the moment our head hits the pillow at night, we are constantly be educated. The part that really astonishes me at that these life-lessons often times come from the most unlikeliest places. They make come to us from a child, from billboards, a song on the radio, from the simple words of another, or any number of venues. The key is to be open to the daily knowledge that is imparted to us.
Today as our Pastor, Fr. Ed spoke to us in the form of the homily, he shared a story. In this story a young man of about 16 had surgery in which one of his legs had to be amputated. After the surgery this young man was very upset and angry to the point that his parents took him for counseling. The counselor asked him to draw a picture of what he was feeling. He took paper and crayons and drew a vase, placing a black line across the vase. When asked what this meant, he explained that he was the vase and that the black line was that he was now broken. A short time later, his cousin was hospitalized also requiring surgery. His cousin had lost an eye, he went to visit her and when he arrived he found her sobbing uncontrollably. Realizing that he had to say or do something, he proceeded to remove the prosthesis that they had given him and began to dance around on one leg. Upon witnessing this sight, his cousin began to smile and then laugh. Seeing her cousins antics, she said, 'I have lost an eye but I can still sing. So she sang as he danced, and at that moment they both realized that still had so much to offer.
In sharing their loss, their very weakness, they learned that they had so much to give, that through their adversities, by allowing it,they could grow beyond the shortcomings. We are all students of life, whether we believe this or not, really all depends on our outlook on life. I know I am an individual with so much more yet to learn. And even though there will be more lessons in my life that will be difficult to not only learn, but to comprehend, I look forward to what they will teach. As I have shared in an earlier posting, Rachel's death has shown me and taught me, compassion, understanding, and an increased awareness of others' pain. I am a very different person from the person I knew just a few years ago, and as I look around at people close to me, I also see the changes in them as well.
One of the biggest messages I received from today's homily is that when we share our pain with others, when we reach out to others in our weakness, we become stronger, we become more aware, we allow ourselves to see beyond our limits, to grasp the new possibilities. The young man went to see his counselor again, asking him for the drawing back. The counselor gave the young man is artwork, to which he now taking a yellow crayon, proceeded to color over the black line. He continued to color over it until more yellow than black was noticeable. He then explained to his counselor, that he was in fact still broken, but when he allowed himself to see with the eyes of Christ, letting the light back into his life, he realized he had so much to live for. He could help others because of his brokenness, because of his pain, he could help them see the gifts they possessed.
We all have so much to share, we have all had our trials, and we all have our own shortcomings and failures, but if we have been good students, we have learned. This knowledge is ours to give to others, to help others see that there is a way out of whatever they are facing, there is light, love and happiness. We have our own brokenness, and when we allow the patches to be visible, we let others know that they too can make it, yes there may be scars, there maybe pieces missing, but we gather up what remains, and make ourselves in to a newer, better model, even if the pieces don't seem to go back in just right.
I'd like to think of myself as a continuously changing piece of art. A masterpiece that the sculptor is still working on and still has long to go to bring to perfection. We are all masterpieces and it is the lessons we learn in life that brings out the beauty that lies within. Our inner strength and beauty shines forth brighter and brighter with each lesson that is learned, with each trial that is faced and overcome, and when we are not afraid to share ourselves with others, especially our brokenness.
So begin your lessons, strive to learn, and take each day as a new opportunity allow the 'work of art' that is you to emerge.
Blessings! and until we meet again.