My original thought for this title was more like Blessed to Be Cursed, but that heaviness has already filtered down to a lower water table–quite a ways down there, in fact. Honestly, I didn’t want to go the trouble of installing a new pump to haul it all up again.
In my world of education, rote learning is an accursed term. (I guess cursed may not be all that far down–it just kind of bubbled up–sorry!) We know rote as drill-and-kill: the learning of math facts, memorization without deep conceptual understanding, last minute cramming, and just surface-level regurgitation. In my journey of trying to understand why I have felt so different from others–why I was sad and empty when others around me always seemed perfectly fine–I am beginning to feel that I have received a gift.
I have seen some teachers who have had remarkable talent for teaching and explaining concepts. Often, these are the teachers who have struggled themselves. These are the teachers who understand just how deep they need to go–how persistent they have to be– in order to convey concepts to the point where they stick.
From my perspective, many people have a good handle on the rules they need to survive in the game of life. They have had the good-enough parents who gave them enough love and attention, such that they haven’t felt a strong desire to know why those rules were there in the first place–they learned by rote. From my perspective, these are the people who laugh easily, get the average to good grades, succeed to a reasonable degree, and never cause too much trouble. From my perspective, these are the also the people who don’t understand why the other 20 percent just don’t get it. They haven’t worked all that hard to learn it, so it just doesn’t very important. They can’t relate; they’re happy enough the way they are, and they have absolutely no reason to reach out to them. It is ever-so-much easier to blame the problem of “not fitting in” on that 20 percent–washing their hands of any responsibility. Even if they did reach out, the conversation would probably die after the first few words. They would have no knowledge of how to help.
Those who have had to find the missing pieces on their own have had to go through a huge process. First, there was the recognition that there really was something wrong and that it was not their fault. By the time they have gone through the recognition, the hunt, the rediscovery, and the necessary healing, they totally understand what went wrong in the first place. They have had to understand why the rules were there to begin with, otherwise they couldn’t rationalize an acceptance of the rules. They have had to recruit and manage their own support team. They have had to find ways to fuel their energy not only for everyday tasks, but also for their critical second job of the recovery process. It is also not uncommon that it requires major deconstruction of extraneous misconceptions, bad influences, negative people, and the ghosts that haunt them in their flashbacks. It can be the equivalent of two full-time jobs.
There is a surprising result for the survivors in the winner’s circle of the 20 percent–the ones who have cleared the rubble from abuse and neglect and have gone on to heal those incredibly painful raw places that had been laid bare. The surprising result is that the level of effort and accompanying momentum generated from this supreme task not only brings these survivors to the surface, but it also propels them above. Now, these survivors have access to the magic of connection with the lucky products of the good-enoughs, as well as the secrets of their black-hole mysteries. They are able to nimbly jump back down in those holes and pull up one lost person after another. It is as though they have acquired a super-power of seeing that someone is down there, and they know the way out. Amazingly, they seem to know a lot of ways out.
If you haven’t been lucky enough to be one of the unlucky ones, you might just be lucky enough to know one.
It’s Sunday night, and I can’t help but saying it: blessed are the unlucky, because they will probably be the ones to find the light.
(You might want to take a fresh peek at Matthew 5: 3-10 😉 )