Gaining Wisdom Can Hurt

Walk with the wise and you become wise…      Proverbs 13:20

2-9-17-with-word-overlayLast week we had a light dusting of snow first thing in the morning. Leaving for the bus stop, I advised Jocelyn to hold onto the railing as she went down our front steps. At six years of age, she thought she knew better. She stepped down without holding on. Of course she slipped on the icy layer hidden under the snow, and landed on her butt.

After I made sure there were no broken bones, I found I was annoyed with her. At my age, I think I know a thing or two about snow and when it might be slippery. It bothered me that she didn’t honor that, and instead, chose to ignore my advice. I didn’t feel all that badly that she had a tender bruise on her bottom to remind her of her foolishness.

I have a spiritual director that I’ve been meeting with every month for the past seventeen years. She is one of the wisest people I know. With a profound knowledge of our faith, and a wealth of experience in counseling, she has guided me through some extremely complicated situations over the years. She has also led me closer to God than I have ever been.

That being said, I was recently discerning something. Her advice was to not jump in too quickly. Her quote was, “Patience is the partner of wisdom.” She thought I should take more time in discernment, be patient, and then if I decided to move forward, to do so slowly.

But that’s not how I operate. I am impulsive and passionate. When I get an idea, I proceed full throttle. Thinking things all the way through takes too much time; and sometimes recognizing in advance all that needs to be done overwhelms me. I’m much better at doing, and tackling each task, in the moment, as it arises.

So, like Jocelyn, I ignored her advice and jumped in with both feet. And like Jocelyn, the terrain was slippery, and I landed on my butt. But for me, it wasn’t my bottom that got bruised; it was my ego. Like Jocelyn’s, my bruise was a good reminder of my foolishness.

I really should have listened. I know it’s important to make mistakes and learn from the consequences. But what’s the point of keeping company with wise people if I’m not going to heed their counsel? I guess I’m no different than my six-year-old after all.

In Jocelyn’s young life, we’ve gone to New York City a few times, just the two of us. She’s a great traveling companion. It seems this walk towards wisdom is yet another journey we’ll travel together. As we accumulate our bumps and bruises along the way, hopefully we’ll make some progress, and one day both be wise.

Questions For Reflection:

     * Are there wise people in my life I turn to for counsel?

     * Do I always heed their advice?

8 thoughts on “Gaining Wisdom Can Hurt

  1. When I get an idea I want to act on it immediately. It’s very difficult to reign in that impulse!
    Your Spiritual Director is a truly wise woman!! And your posts always make me think!! xo


  2. I can relate to you, Claire in so many ways! I find that stopping and taking the time (and just praying) before moving forward on my ideas is so hard!


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