Thursday, March 22, 2012

Learning from Experience

"Experience is one of the best teachers." Most of us would agree, and we often search out those with experience to help us move ahead in our field of interest.  The spirituality column in the Catholic Times introduces us to a priest whose experiences of life the columnist thought worthy of passing on to his readers.

After graduating from a secular college, he entered the seminary. Because college study had been no problem for him, he thought that would be the case in the seminary. The first two years he continued the methods of study he was used to, but in third year, during the study of philosophy and theology, all changed.  His classmates gave him the nickname 'worry wart'. During the second semester he received a 30 in an exam; a perfect score was 100. It bothered him a lot though he did say there were others who received the same grade.

Many of the students laughed off poor grades, simply increasing their efforts, but it brought change into his life in a different direction. He decided to change his interests and paid more attention to the natural world, to the trees and flowers on the seminary grounds.  He prepared seed beds for flowers and transplanted the seedlings in different areas of the seminary yard. He spent time trimming the trees on the property. Since the professors would comment on his not studying, he would work out of sight on the large seminary campus.

He realized, he said, he had been studying to pass the exams, and not studying to learn; grades seemed to be the determining factor for everything.  Working close to nature he got rid of his stress, found peace, was in touch with himself and more honest in his relationships. Close to  nature he became open and easy-going, and found that he could learn more than was  possible in the past. His grades also did not suffer. The columnist finishes the column by noting that those words of the priest, whose simple and warm personality he admired, have continued to echo within him over the years.


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