“I grew up with six brothers. That’s how I learned to dance – waiting for the bathroom.” (Bob Hope)
I can relate, although I learned to dance in the kitchen watching my parents cha-cha before breakfast and taking a spin when my mom needed to stir something.
But that is the grand adventure of life, isn’t it?
Learning the most unexpected lessons at the most unexpected times and from the most unexpected places.
I learned honesty as a child, but learned, again, how committed I was to it when government agents were coming to my home to seize everything of value and I knew the contents of my jewelry box. It would have been so easy to take something I could sell to feed, clothe or shelter my children and none would be the wiser. Except me. And that was the problem.
So I didn’t do it, although I’d be lying if I said the thought hadn’t crossed my mind. It absolutely did. When you’re left alone, financially devastated, and have four children to provide for, it’s amazing how desperate that situation can make you feel. However, I’ve never been one to sell my soul for “things” and even when the stakes were so high in my eyes, I learned I still wasn’t going to. I learned for myself I wasn’t going to break down and be dishonest after living a life of complete honesty just because my spouse had. I learned I’d rather starve or be forced to rely upon the charity of others than to choose to steal or sell my soul for any “thing.”
In that moment I also learned that as much as we know what is right, and regardless of how much a virtue (like honesty) we possess, we are never absolutely above temptation. At least, I’m imperfect enough not to be.
Life is an endless opportunity to prove ourselves and reprove ourselves and prove ourselves again, even when we think we have something mastered–we get to learn and prove ourselves in an entirely new, and unexpected, way!
Like dance. I graduated from high school and dancing in the kitchen to college, social dance class, and returning home for New Year’s Eve 1985 to cha-cha with my dad, one last time, but in public, at a dance. Later I added clogging, BYU Folk Dancers and Irish dance to the resume of my experience. And eventually, a dance class with Bachelor #5. He keeps inviting me to country/western dance, so that may be next on our list. But wherever our lesson, and our life lessons take us, this I know:
That’s how we learn. And we’re learning all the time. The tombstone will be our diploma, said Eartha Kitt.
“Be a student so long as you still have something to learn, and this will mean all your life.” (Henry L. Doherty)
Especially in the unexpected one.