I Wonder How This Episode Will End

I  have tended to learn things the hard way my whole life. 

When I was younger, I had a bad habit of ignoring the good advice and guidance that I received from people who knew better than me. 

This invariably ended with me traveling down the difficult path of mistakes, poor decisions, and ultimately an admission that I didn't know as much as I thought. 

Sometimes those mistakes were costly, though.  If I'd had an ounce or two more of humility, I could have avoided a lot of heartache and painful lessons.  

I'm pretty hardheaded, as it turns out.  

Still, there is something to be said about hard lessons.  Through those hard lessons, I learned in ways I would not have otherwise.  I needed to have my pride chipped away.  I needed to know that I wasn't all that. 

As a result, I don't regret the paths I have taken in life, even when they could have been avoided for much easier ones.  

Mark Twain once wrote: 

A man who carries a cat by the tail, learns something he can learn in no other way. 

It doesn't mean I want others to experience the same pain, so I do my best to offer sound advice and guidance, even to hardheaded people like myself.  And I also am much more open to receiving both from others than I used to. 

But occasionally, I feel like grabbing the metaphorical cat by the tail is the way to go, and I learn the hard way all over again.  

If you are reading this, and resonating with it, let me offer you some encouragement.  

If the Universe seems to continue nudging you toward hard lessons to learn, and you stubbornly continue to step into them, despite your past experiences, don't get down on yourself.  

[Also, feel free to replace the word "Universe" with "God," which I frequently do because I see them as interchangeable.  That's a topic for another day, though.]  

Everything you are experiencing is part of your journey, and instead of beating yourself up, you need to move from self-loathing to curiosity.  Be curious about what you still need to learn or what new lessons are being presented. 

Author Rob Bell says that his wife has a great way of framing some of the hard things they face by dryly quipping: 

"I wonder how this episode will end." 

I absolutely love that.  It's a great way to add a bit of whimsy to our curiosity and helps frame whatever challenges we encounter in a way conducive to learning and growth. 

And if you are living with regret over some of those hard lessons you had to learn or are frustrated and close to despair over how you keep learning the same lessons over again... don't. 

God's grace is more sufficient for you, to begin with.  Also, you may need to keep figuring some stuff out and have yet to get to the heart of what you need to learn.  

To quote the TV character Ted Lasso, who quoted Walt Whitman, "Be curious, not judgmental."  Let your curiosity guide you.  Say to yourself, "I wonder how this episode will end."  Live in the joy of God's grace no matter what comes. 

May it be so for all of us.  And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us all now and forever. Amen.  


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