This weekend, as Beth and I were walking at Crown Hill Cemetery, I confessed that this forced adjustment to our work and our community was beginning to feel a bit like a pre-cursor to retirement. Maybe a cemetery is not the best place to reflect on questions like this, but here I was, considering large, philosophical questions.
One of the questions that has kept needling me is, why? Not why is Covid-19 happening or why do such tragic things happen in our world. No, the question I seem to keep returning to is – why am I here? Or really, at 64, why am I still here?
As I sit with the question and honestly listen to my own heart, along with what I perceive as the heart of God for me, I am starting to hear a number of responses. But, the one that continues to echo in my mind is the simple fact that I am here to learn. That’s right, learn.
Although life-long learning is a catchy maxim, accepting the reality and invitation that I am here to be a learner until I take my very last breath seems startlingly new. It also gives profound meaning to each day and every experience.
So that brings us to our present moment and this current context of learning to live in the midst of a world-wide pandemic. What do I notice I’m being drawn to learn? Here’s what I noticed. How about you?
I am learning who I am apart from work; that my identity is not dependent on my work or contribution.
I am learning humility.
I am learning that everything that I enjoy or sustains me is received as a gift.
I am learning I don’t need to prove myself.
I am learning that my security does not lie in money or the economy.
I am learning to let go, to unlearn, to release, and submit.
I am learning to be more comfortable with mystery.
I am learning to listen to my body.
I am learning that every idea I have is not for me, nor is it necessarily a good idea.
I am learning to discern when I am oriented toward God or away from God.
I am learning to feel my feelings, become more aware of them, and have words to acknowledge and share them.
I am learning what is important and what is priority.
As I look at this list I don’t feel overwhelmed by how much I still have to learn. I actually want to learn them. I’m not discouraged to learn (there’s that word again) that I’m still in school. And what is this school I’m still enrolled in from which I will never graduate? I think of it as the School of Love. The school where I progressively shed and unlearn fear and all that hinders my freely living from my true self. And this school is always in session, whether in a brick and mortar building or a virtual classroom. Who would have thought that one of the courses we would find ourselves enrolled in would be Pandemic 101. But here we are! What are you drawn to learn or unlearn during this present moment?