It’s been said that the best way to learn anything is to teach it. I believe that but I have also had some mighty valuable lessons slip up on me as I was teaching something, I thought, totally unrelated. “The Middle Way” is one such lesson.
Teaching has been a part of my life all of my life. I’m a natural teacher. I love it. The drive I have to share knowledge and insight has been in me since long before I had much of either to offer. Just a whip of a girl, I’d line my stuffed animals up on my bed and teach them everything I knew about ABC’s, 123’s, don’t talk to strangers, and look both ways before crossing the street. I hear some of you chiming in, “Me too.”
I went to Sunday school and learned to sing, “Yes Jesus Loves Me.” I quickly added that to my stuffed animal’s curriculum. I taught my first “real live” class at the jolly green age of 15. I was over-the-moon to be commissioned to teach a Sunday School class. A bunch of lively five year olds that were just as willing to have fun as I was. Having sat in a class or two that was so boring and dry that you could watch the paint peel off the walls, I was determined that mine would be the most exciting class in the history of the world. I wanted my young charges to be thrilled about coming to class and sad to leave. And they were… until….
The Sunday School lesson was about the three Hebrew children being thrown into the fiery furnace. I wanted to bring the subject to life with an object lesson. I soaked a white cloth in water (representative of the Hebrew boys in the story), dipped the same cloth in alcohol (God’s love and protection), and lit it on fire (trial of faith). I practiced the trick at home to make sure it worked. It was perfect. The alcohol burned off the wet cloth without the slightest singe. I imagined the oohs and aahs that would come from my young-ins on Sunday morning.
Sunday morning: It was all going according to plan. I lit the wet cloth and the children squealed with delight! Then I bumped over the bottle of alcohol spilling it out and the entire desktop went up in flames. I managed to quickly put the fire out but by that time the children were screaming and crying for their mommies. I didn’t blame them, I wanted to do the same thing. Believe it or not, the powers that be did not take my class away from me. I guess they figured I was the one who had learned from the object lesson that day. And I did.
Excitement is a wild and wonderful thing but there’s a lot to be said for order and quietness. Too much of one extreme or the other is not the best way. “The Middle Way,” is the sure way. Learning to live in balance, for me, is an on going lesson. As I veer too far left or right, I feel God’s nudge goading me back to the middle. The Middle Way. A place of sure footing where calm quiet confidence and wild exuberance meet, merge, and make sense.
Meet me in the middle and we’ll learn balance as we journey together one yoga class at a time.