I spent five years in college at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa (Roll Tide!!!). That’s longer than the four years most students endured. My extended stay in T-town allowed me an opportunity to get to know the process toward graduation in a very intimate and often unwanted way. In college there was the option to add a class needed for graduation, then drop it by mid-season with the option to take it later, take it from another professor or take something else totally different, but still fitting the required courses. The key was, once you reached a certain point in the semester dropping was not an option. You were too far in, and the system knew it so you had to stick it out (or suffer the wrath). I would not be truthful if I said I didn’t delight in using the “drop/add” amenity a time or two.
Wouldn’t it be nice sometimes if life was that way? With all that we go through, some things expected and some which completely catch us off guard, wouldn’t it be just terrific if we could hand-pick our path to the finish, dropping and adding like the days in my beloved Rose Towers dormitory? Why can’t we simply go to the Counselor (God) and say, “May I drop this class please?” Wouldn’t it be neat if we could pick and choose the “lessons” we learn, putting off the ones we feel are too tough or inconvenient, and opting for an easier route?
Like college, life isn’t always that way. Grace and mercy are often in full effect, but there are somethings that we simply have to go through. We can’t always pick and choose the paths we travel in order get to where we’re meant to be. Sometimes we have to just suck it up, and stick it out through some hard lessons before crossing the big stage or the finish line.
I remember my second senior year (my fifth year), and I was faced with finally taking a course I’d put off as long as possible…Statistics. I was almost at the end of my time at Bama, and too far in to turn back. Math was not my forte. It never, ever was, dating back to my first “C” in 7th grade while in Mrs. Cox’s class at Homewood Middle School, to my foray into the world of summer school my 10th grade year compliments of my inability to grasp Geometry from Ms. Merkerson’s class at Ramsay Alternative High School, to freaking out my freshman year in college after oversleeping for my very first college semester exam, that just so happened to be, you guessed it, math. Math and I have always had a hate/hate relationship. It’s my constant reminder that I am nowhere near perfect. I digress. Back to the Capstone. Well, there I am in the fall of 1994, forced with no choice but to take that dreaded Stat class. To make a long story and what felt like an even longer semester short, I not only passed the class, I aced it, literally. Your girl made an A. Now, don’t ask me how I made an A because I honestly can’t tell you. What I can say is that the instructor, whose name escapes me, was so enjoyable, thoughtful and nurturing in her teaching, that decades of built up fear and self-doubt seemed to have disappeared. I also found a great group of study buddies who helped me along the way, and because I knew I had to do it I guess something in me just did it.
Some things in life are hard as the dickens. There, I said it. There are some things which, good or bad simply don’t make sense and won’t make sense. There have been so many times in life I’ve wanted to ask if I could not have to learn a lesson, or not have to repeat a lesson I didn’t learn or not have to repeat a lesson I thought I’d already learned, sometimes to the point of begging God wanting to say “please, pretty please with an extra Hallelujah on top.” And still, because He knew what was in me, what was best for me, and who He had ready to help me God allowed the tough lessons to become some of the most valuable (and often most hilarious) ones I have. Now that, my darlings is the mark of an Excellent Teacher!