Monday, March 31, 2014

Ode to Learning

Recently I was in a conversation with a group of folks and realized that I may be a nerd and a bit of a weirdo. Perhaps others are like me and they are silenced by fear of what others may think. I really don’t care what they think – or I should say, I do care what people think too often, but not in this.

In college, I had a professor of a Creativity class I took who said something that has stuck with me. She said:
Some people die when they’re 25 but aren’t buried until they’re 75.

Her point was that some people quit growing, learning, and experiencing at 25 – in a sense “dying” – but aren’t physically dead until they’re 75.

This is not something I think I have the capability to ever fall into. Why? I’m a GIANT NERD!

You see, I absolutely, positively LOVE to learn. While I’m sure it goes back farther genetically, I want to credit my grandparents for this as each of them have impacted a piece of the ways I love to learn. So, in order of oldest to youngest grandparents, I want to give an ode to their lasting impact on how they raised my parents and how that has in-turn shaped me.

Granddaddy – my mom’s dad
My inquisitive nature comes from Granddaddy. Every time we'd visit Mammy and Granddaddy, he'd find some time to take me aside and really learn about what I was interested in, doing, etc. He'd quiz me on my swim practices, ask about what books I was reading, try to understand my job (which isn't very clear-cut), and then tell me things he learned/saw/experienced. While yes, some of that was because he loved and cared about me, but I know much of it is his nature and desire to learn. I know this by observing him - he joined the High Pointers Club when I was in high school, subscribed to tons of magazines, and read a lot. I am grateful for the desire to learn new things through questioning and seeking answers that Granddaddy instilled in me.

PaBert - my dad's dad
He is the big traveler and I share his love of history, particularly U.S. history (as does my dad). To me, the love of travel and understanding history stems from a desire to learn about other cultures, ways of life, and ways of thinking. I know from conversations with PaBert about his travels that this is true for him. I also know he takes steps to learn while at home, which I do too. I am grateful for PaBert's impact on my love of history and experiencing new cultures, places, and things.

Mammy - mom's mom
I credit all of my creative bones to Mammy. My love of art, music, writing, film, etc.; anything creative stems from her. Mammy is always, always creating something - she's a brilliant artist and a fabulous writer. She's also exposed me to wonderful music and films of her generation. As a kid, times with Mammy were always an adventure filled with making things, exploring, and playing. I'm so thankful for the ways Mammy helped shape my creative side and different way of seeing the world.

Mema - my dad's mom
She is also the definition of reinvention - when I was 8, Mema went back to college to complete her degree! She showed me that learning is not confined by age. Also, her subsequent career following that degree was as a case worker with MHMR of Tarrant County. She loved her clients who were people with challenges, hardships, and who the "world" often looked down upon. Although I did not recognize it as a child, Mema impacted my heart to love people. To see all people as valuable and have a desire for them to know that. I am thankful for the ways that Mema impacted my empathy for others, particularly the "least of these."

At times I get overwhelmed by the multitude of things that I want to learn, do, experience, and see. And yet, while it can be overwhelming, it's also invigorating. They help change me, grow my point of view, and, more than anything, grow deeper in love with the Lord as He is the Creator of all these things. He is the greatest Artist, the most acclaimed Writer, the best Musician, the keeper of all Wisdom and Knowledge, the ultimate Empathizer, the Beginning and the End.

Learning and growing and experiencing is a gift. And that gift is made so much sweeter when it's used to grow my affection for the Lord, His Creation, and His people.

May I keep living until He calls me home, not a moment before.