“I believe that life is basically a process of growth- that we go through many lives, choosing those situations and problems that we will learn through.” Jim Henson
I found this quote from Jim Henson in It’s Not Easy Being Green. I had no idea until I picked up this little treasure for my grand kids just how wise the Muppet Man was. The book turns out to be full of inspiration for adults. The quote above struck me right between the eyes and down into my heart. I have often felt like I’ve gone through many lives since I as born. My life now seems so different from my childhood and so different from other times in my adulthood – the young adult exploratory phase, the early parenting years, the divorce and rebound wreckage, the years of finding myself again and now….well, now there is this whole new second chance at love with exciting possibilities to return to the things I loved in my youth.
Did I have to go through all those learning experiences to get here? Probably… Yes. All those choices and experiences brought me to this point and help me appreciate the gifts of the present.
Do we really choose (consciously or otherwise) the situations and problems we will learn from?
Certainly there are situations we learn from that we don’t choose. When some one dies, we learn how to cope and work through grief, but we don’t choose to be separated from a loved one by death. We can however, in the long run, choose how we cope. Are there problems that we choose in order to learn what we need to learn? That might explain why I chose after my divorce to enter into a relationship with someone dangerously different from my previous partner. I stayed in that first unhealthy rebound for about a year. In hindsight, I’ve thought it was a year too long. Did I stay long enough to learn what I needed to learn? To learn what I don’t want? That I deserved better?
Do we stay in jobs until we learn what we need to be able to move on? After a few years as a substance abuse counselor, I never thought I’d stay in the addiction field for 30 years. But something kept me at this job. Was it security? Were there things I needed to learn? It certainly taught me to be assertive. And this job played a big part in bringing me back to a loving Power greater than myself that could restore me to sanity.
This job I’ve had for 30 years brought me to God. The divorce and dangerous rebound brought me ever closer the one who would never leave me. God and the universe (God through the universe) can choose to put people or situations in our path to help us. Or test us. (Oh, great, another test!) Or to open our eyes to a new path. Or maybe God assigns us to a post because the work needs to be done, and we are the best person for the job. Maybe it’s all of the above.
I believe, like Wayne Dyer said, that God and the universe conspire with us to help us learn what we need to learn. It might take one year or it might take 30 years. But we always have a choice to jump in and test the waters or walk away because maybe we’re not ready to learn that one yet.
Or maybe walking away is what we needed to learn.