I’m always thinking about education, what it really means to be educated and learned. I’d love to call myself that, but I constantly become confused by the standards of today’s society. If I measured myself against them, I would most certainly be uneducated. I like to face the facts. It makes everything so much simpler. So here’s me facing the facts. No, I’m not as learned as everyone I meet—not by the measures and standards of today’s culture. But what am I? What makes me feel that perhaps it’s alright?
A heritage. I consider myself to be peculiarly blessed. In my head are stories, thoughts, ideas. In my soul there’s fire and passion, the will to live a good life. And in my hands there is a yearning to work, change, create. An artist’s urge, perhaps; but then, man was created an artist, by an Artist. We all create. We all feel the urge, the call to build something, paint something, write something, to get what we feel is inexpressible to be, in some way, expressed.
In a previous blogpost I demonstrated the longing I felt to climb a certain hill. And I don’t know why, because the way was right in front of me and the means to do it obvious, but I only just climbed that hill the other day. Less than a week before I was scheduled to leave St. Andrews. And as soon as I reached the top, I wondered why I had never done it before. My lungs were stretching to suck in all the air they could, and my heart was opening up, expanding, enlarging to receive gifts and be blessed. There were gifts all around me. It amazed me that my eye could see so far, and so many details. The town was below me, small, like I could pick it up in my hand and crumble its ancient stone cathedral between my human fingers. But I had no desire to. My desire was to stretch myself, body, mind, and spirit, and hold fast to all that is good in life. Again and again I find myself astounded by beauty, engrossed in this unity with God that gives me eyes of a different nature. All because of him I can truly say, whenever I am overwhelmed by the glory of the earth, “God, oh God, your work is too wonderful for me!” And I do say it. I try to delve into the mind of God. He talks about drawing circles on the face of the deep, laying the foundations of the world. But it was never as simple as legos or building blocks. These mysteries of gravity, the earth’s pull, the structure of a tree, the structure of a blade of grass, its roots, the peaty earth—no, I may understand how, but I can never understand why. Only speculate. But then there’s that aching wonder, that bliss that comes from just letting yourself be astounded, by forgetting everything that you want to learn, and to confess: I don’t know.
(Oh, Scotland I love you.)
Sometimes that bliss makes me feel that perhaps I have not missed out on education. That bliss makes me feel like there is something more important in life, something deeper than this stereotypical education, like the expressing of these thoughts and ideas, finding the root of them. Whenever I go out into the fields and listen to “the beauty that discharges itself again and again” (Anne Frank) I feel that I am finding something really important, something that is meant to be discovered, loved, appreciated.
I walk home from church every Sunday night, and I feel blessed and invigorated for life. I am ready to live, ready to die to self, ready to do the work of Christ. And I look up, and stop, and I see things that astound me again. The sky is deep blue, dark, and the stars are singular and bright. I walk with my head up, and maybe I walk into things, but I don’t really care because what is above is too beautiful to ignore. Astounded by beauty. Plunged into unity.
The winter wind goes clean through me, purging as it goes. I breathe in December air, and as I exhale, I exhale all the bad feeling, all the dirtiness and filth and grime. And I become refreshed and strengthened. Ready.
I’m ready to live my life now. I know that I may not know as much as everybody else, but I have a passion for living and for living well. I know what it is I want to do. “I enter the world, as every person born enters it: with clenched fists.” (Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts).
If you’re in a boat with me—you know, the boat with people who haven’t written very many essays, didn’t complete a math course, dropped a language—then don’t feel overwhelmed or dumbed down. The important thing about life is knowing how to live it. I am open to the fact that some day, perhaps, I might go to school. Very well. But for now, I have ideas and things I want to try, things I feel called to do. And I love my life because I know that it is the life I am supposed to be living. Half the adventure is not knowing where God is going to call me, or what I’m going to do exactly; but it’s my job to find out. And it’s the finding out part that excites me because really, from my perspective, anything could happen.