Sunday, September 23, 2012

must there be a lesson?

Last week I rearended another car. We were stop start stop start in front of our school gate and the traffic started, I took my foot off the brake, Claire said something in the back seat, I turned my head to look at her, and crunch. The SUV I hit had a spare tire that neatly crunched my hood. Every time I look at the hood, it seems worse. Amazingly crunchy, those hoods. A friend explained hoods are made to crunch easily so the entire hood can't crash through the windshield into the driver and front passenger. Makes sense. So my hood is crunchy, and my front plastic grill might be a little damaged, one headlight is crooked but not broken.

What I immediately thought about after the crunch was all the paperwork that must be involved in having an accident here. I was shaking and embarassed because it happened at school and now everyone would think I am a careless driver or a crier (I am a crier, it helps) and I was really really worried about the mess of paperwork that would come my way because this life is laden with paperwork.

And then someone told me that the lesson in this is to be careful.

I am careful and I made a mistake that morning and that is that. Being told that the lesson in my rearending another vehicle at a wildly low speed is to be careful made me bristle. Not so much because it isn't true - I do need to be careful when I drive - or because I already know that I need to be careful or because I am usually very careful.

(Usually always has an exception. Exhibit: rearending another vehicle).

What made me bristle is this: I look for lessons in way too many interactions and events and thoughts and readings and days and weeks and months and years. I look for lessons in why a relationship went bad and why I feel terrible or why my kid is having a fit. Am I supposed to learn compassion or contentment or gentleness in this moment? I do this look for the lesson all the time and when I hit that car and someone said the lesson was I need to be more careful, I thought: No. I am already careful. The lesson isn't that. And you know what else? I don't feel like looking for a lesson in this. I'm tired of breaking my life into lessons geared toward building my character or finding God in any given situation or understanding why. Many times I want to know what the lesson is so it can be done: like, check, I've learned that. Next.

Sometimes things happen and I don't why. I don't know how it works out or what I'm supposed to learn or how I grow through a situation. And I am more okay with that than I was before I rearended that car and someone said there was a lesson in it. There is a lesson it! And I don't want to spend time overthinking what it may be, though I'm wondering if that - Quit demanding to know the lesson you're in the middle of learning! - might be part of it. Maybe I don't need a name for each of my lessons. Maybe I can have a day a week a month a year that sees me grow in faith and character without calling out each chapter as a Lesson.

That sounds lovely.


Steve said...

I kind of chuckled reading this. Sorry. I think, because I felt your frustration.

Here is a lesson for you. For each lesson you learn 500,000,000 just opened up that you need to learn... and quickly. :)

Anonymous said...

I love you.