As Steve was teaching this week at drill, he displayed a picture on the screen of a sinking boat with the following quote, “It could be that the purpose of your life is to serve as a warning to others!” The quote stuck with me because of an unexpected phone call this week. It was from someone we haven't heard from in maybe 15 years. While it was good to hear from this person, it took us back to an time uncomfortable time in our lives. I don't know about you, but I don't always like to be reminded of where I was in my life a long time ago, you know, of these “ooh, what a stupid jerk I was…” times (see former blog post, “Oh, What a Stupid Jerk I was…!”). My wife compared it to all the skeletons in the proverbial closet coming out in a teasing mocking dance.
Today, as we near 60 years old, both my wife and I feel like we finally have a pretty good grip on things. We feel like we matured in our relationships with others, including with our children who are now all adults, as well as in our practical and spiritual life. We can look back at where we've been, laugh at ourselves and use the stupid things we did in the past as practical life examples to teach others today. So whereas we feel uneasy about certain events in our past, the lessons we have learned from it have become the invaluable and indispensable tool in our ‘medical kit’.
The thing about life is that it can not be learned from a book. Just like a carpenter learns his trade by practicing carpentry ’, an EMT by being faced with medical emergencies, a firefighter by drilling and enacting fire scenarios, life is learned through ‘living’, and we generally learn much more from our mistakes than from our successes.
So next time you feel uncomfortable about your past, think of all the lessons you've learned, think of all the life training it afforded you, and remember that it is not just the arrival at the destination that is important, but what we learn along the way, the lessons we gather in our journey. Who knows,
"It could be that the purpose of your life is to serve as warning to others!”
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