Saturday, November 13, 2010

just keep swimming.

musicboy and i were talking last night about this principle, though no one brought up nemo.  (i'm not sure why, though, since it works well.)

the idea we were talking about was how, even when we feel like we're not doing the right things very well or very completely, we just have to keep trying and keep going.  musicboy said something really good. he said, so long as we are moving in the right direction, that's what's important.

even if we're not moving very fast? i asked, thinking of my own slow progress in anything remotely related to spirituality or personal development lately.

yes. so long as you are moving in the right direction, that's what's important.  there will always be times when we're moving faster than others, he said.

he also said something interesting that hadn't really occurred to me before. he said that sometimes we learn less through knowledge and study and more through experience. like there are times when we are learning how to be something by doing it rather than by learning about it.

(if this seems completely obvious to everyone else, forgive me.)

that struck me really a lot.  sometimes, maybe life presents you with opportunities to learn how to be the person you want to be, how to have the character that you want to have, by giving you opportunities to exercise those qualities constantly.  sometimes it's patience, sometimes it's hard work, sometimes it's faith.  at that point, though, it seems as though Heavenly Father believes enough in you and your knowledge to throw you into the deep end.  that's not an unkind thing. how else can you know for sure that you are learning what you need to learn? that you can put it into practice?

but if you're accustomed to growing through knowledge, it can feel like you're not really moving. it can feel, instead, like you're just doing.

that's how i've been feeling. i know i should be doing more and be doing things differently. i know that i have the capacity, in different times, to study better and to be more diligent.  i want to do those things. but i also know that i've had the opportunity, in recent months, to practice a lot of those things that i've been trying to learn. i've been able to practice diligence, practice patience, practice selflessness, practice self-reliance and provident living.  these are all extraordinary gifts. i just hadn't seen them that way.

i just thought i was really busy all the time.

(and i am.)

but really, what is the point of all of that knowledge if it doesn't fundamentally form your character? if when you get your head out of the books and into the world, you don't recall and put it into practice, what's really the purpose?

so though i am far from perfect, and have much more to do, i like that i'm still swimming toward my goal.  i like that, despite the sometimes stiff current working against me, i'm still moving, fins still flapping, eyes still searching to keep myself on the path that will get me home.

that's what's important--staying on that path. 

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