So Why a Living Room?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

What I learned from the fish.

A few weeks ago, I was reading a friend's blog, about her incredible experiences during a semester abroad in Jerusalem.  She's inspiring and magnificent. Something that really stuck with me was what her friend, Basaam, taught her one day.

"He reminded me of a truth that I have forgotten, and that is that the older we get the faster the hours, days and months seem to go, only because we grow accustomed to everything around us. As a child, time seems to be drawn out because every second, every breath and glance, are filled with newness and discovery. The key to a long, successful life does not hinge on the number of years we are walking on this earth but rather to the state of curiosity and constant learning in which we walk day to day."

"Wow," I thought.  "That is so neat! Curiosity and constant learning, yeah!"
But then I misapplied the truth of it.  I turned inward and found myself wishing that I, like her, were writing in my journal in places where Jesus actually walked , picking olives off of real olive trees and making olive oil,  and taking classes like "Biblical Hebrew."   I started to long for my life as a student where I felt like I was constantly curious and constantly learning, rather than my life now, which is sometimes a Groundhog Dayish hamster wheel of mundane cooking and cleaning.  I chose to look around and look back, instead of look up, and it was gnawing on me and pulling me down.

And then, we went to the zoo.  We just took a little trip to the zoo to get out of the house and look at the indoor fish aquariums and pet the sharks. As we were looking at all the different kinds of fish, it dawned on me the vastness of the creations in the world and how much there is to learn about everything around us, all the time.   We started chatting with the worker in the shark-petting room and Ethan was asking her some questions, and she was encouraging his curiosity and asking him questions back.  We picked her brain for about a half hour and walked back to the big aquarium:
"What is that one called?"  "How come those eels don't eat the other fish?  How many fish do the dolphins eat every day?  How do you get all those fish?  Where do you keep them?"

It was so fun to be curious and to be learning! Duh, Em, you don't have to go to Jerusalem and make olive oil.  This is it, right here!  You can learn about fish.  And, you are learning so much every day!  You are learning to be selfless, you are learning to be kind, you are learning to love, you are learning to take simple joys in the God's creations, you are learning to care for a family, to deal with tantrums at the grocery store, to keep the attention of 6 preschoolers, to throw 5 year-old birthday parties...  You ARE constantly learning!

On the way to the zoo I felt tired of winter, tired of being "stuck" at home with two little kids, tired of so many responsibilities, and well, just tired. On the way home, I felt energized and excited about life and a teensy little bit smarter about one little thing out of millions that there are to learn.  I felt renewed in my perspective that motherhood is a privilege, and that getting to be around my kids all the time gives me such an awesome example of constant curiosity and love for learning.

So that was my epiphany at the zoo.  It's been fun since then to make a habit of asking a million questions wherever we go--I've learned things I never knew before about dinosaurs, fire trucks, and well, life itself.

Look Up.  Find the Joy.   
(not  "Look around.  Wish you were somewhere else."  ha ha)



Lucky Larson's said...

I would love to learn something from you-My hubby has written some songs and we aren't sure what the next step would be to have them be looked at to sell or arranged better to get them to sell better--Do you know anything about it?

If you do know and want to help us out--please respond at my website--

--You can be the teacher for someone else's "olive oil" or "fish"--isn't that great!

Thank you!!

whitney said...

I've found that we look around and wish we were somewhere else because that's the easy solution. This is why we don't apparate or nobody would stick around to cope with real life. I was just telling Brendan yesterday that I wished I could just be perfect because TRYING to obtain perfection is painful, always. I think that's why they tell us to find joy in the journey because otherwise it just hurts! Kinda like labor, its difficult to rejoice in the reason your in labor mid-contraction but if you can focus your thoughts and energies into the new life that is coming, its worth the pain.