I like old adages. They’re sorta like a Proverbs, well some of them anyway, they use just a few words to make a big point. There’s wisdom in that, maybe genius. The whole point is that they make us think, or at least that’s the intent.
After finishing my post last week and before I hit the “publish” button, I texted my mom and asked her if she could send me a picture. I wanted to post a picture of my first Little League baseball team. The team that I was on that lost the championship when I got tagged out trying to steal home base.
My mom couldn’t find the picture, I knew it was a long shot, she’s got a zillion photo albums. But she did find some other pictures. One in particular I’d forgotten all about. It was a picture my brother took of me jumping off a cliff in Crystal Beach, a spot north of Lake Havasu where the Colorado River runs swift.
That picture made me ponder old adages. Here’s what I came up with after seeing that picture;
“I learned much from my teachers, more from my books, and most from my mistakes.” Anonymous.
It was a different world then. We grew up fast. There was no such thing as “helicopter parents”. Our parents trusted in the Good Lord to send His angels to protect their reckless and foolish offspring.
At the time of that picture my brother was about sixteen. I was ten or eleven. My brother was crazy, everyone in town knew it. I was dumb and that probably wasn’t a secret either. He was smart enough to watch from below and take the picture for posterity’s sake.
Everyone makes mistakes because none of us are perfect. There was only One. And all of us have regrets. Mistakes and regrets are the necessary ingredients to learn wisdom. It’s not a matter of living in the past, it’s a matter of learning from our mistakes. And if there’s no regret or remorse there’s no fuel to learn.
I like the NIV translation of Job 12:12, “Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding?”
A lot of us are lucky or blessed to be able to tell the tales of our sordid past. I think it’s proof all by itself of the Divine intervention of God in this world.
So this post isn’t a rejection of last week’s, but a clarification of it. I think we should strive to have joy in this life like we had before the days and years left our senses tarnished and calloused. But with the understanding of God’s grace that delivered us from the days of teachers, books, and mistakes.