The Study of Life Puts Us On “Course” with God

Dear Reader:

As a teacher we were always encouraged to instruct to the individual …meeting each student’s needs… over simply throwing out information to the class as a whole and letting it fall where it may. Since we know that God doesn’t make two individuals alike…we also know and recognize that we all learn differently…some of us are predominantly visual learners, some audio, and some “hands-on.”

I would let my students select projects that fit their particular learning style instead of making every student conform to just one set of directions and application for an end of the unit summation.

Another phrase that was quite popular when I taught was the importance of  “Creating life-time learners.” This is still true but now I see it as more of a spiritual endeavor  than just a quest for pure knowledge.

In this month’s Awakin.Org …”Hazrat Inayat Khan says, “A study of life is the greatest of all religions, and there is no greater or more interesting study.” The more I examined this sentence in my mind the more I realized where the author was coming from. It also matched a reader who had responded to the article with this insight…”

“Real religion awakens us to awareness that there is one Creation of which every thing and every being is a part. It awakens us to awareness that all things and all beings, including human beings, are unique expressions of one Creation, totally interconnected and interrelated, not separate. This is what the study of life teaches us…and for me… my unique learning style in this life course revolves around nature…seeing God through nature.” (David Doane)

Another responder, Jagdish Dave, agreed with Doane’s learning style of nature which, also,  eloquently expressed my exact sentiments.

“I experience the religion of nature when I am fully present to hearing the sounds of nature, to feeling the touch of wind, to smelling flowers and to watching the movements of the sun, the moon, and the stars. I feel oneness between me and nature. And that to me is a religious experience.” (Dave)

Since my garden was created… a sanctuary for my innermost feelings has also appeared within its perimeter… calling me in the early mornings and waning evenings. It is my God-given sacred ground to ponder and study life through God’s gift to us through nature. (Or as Archibald Rutledge, SC Poet Laureate, once wrote…nature is one of “Life’s Extras.” )

When Michael arrived yesterday to cut the grass, trim the bushes, and cut branches off the trees, I asked if he could help me dig up Mandy’s stepping stones she made for me (in her art classroom with the kiln) the year the garden was started. Over the years they had sunk so low in the ground they were almost completely buried.

I was afraid they would break digging them out but the nice thing about “home/kiln”-made stepping stones is that they last forever. Michael and I carried them to one of the long wooden garden benches. While he worked in the yard I scrubbed and cleaned the stepping stones with stiff brushes, cleaning products, and peroxide. I was so excited when we placed them back along the path leading to the front garden …they looked brand new. (title photo)

Isn’t that what God does every day for us? He provides stepping stones to show us the way, to give us direction in our study of life. He wants all of us to get an “A+” at the end of our ‘study.’ The only way to be successful is to experience every phase and sphere of life…the good, bad, and ugly.

Saturday as I watched Mandy working with Jakie…how to float on his back… keeping his head pulled completely back…thus pulling up his legs with his arms at his side… he was completely relaxed…but only as long as Mandy had her arms under his back. Sometimes she only had a finger touching the center of his back…but it was enough to reassure him. Take away that light flutter of a finger sensation and he immediately started sinking.

As I watched I realized that God is trying to show us the same thing about His constant presence…even if we can’t feel His physical touch. He is there cheering us on…to become a floater of trust and hope to others.

So until tomorrow…Life is the greatest teacher…take every course you can find…the more courses you take…the clearer your path becomes.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Sanctuary of  “Life’s Extras”

Every morning that Sammy the Cardinal comes to see me…is the start of an especially good day…He doesn’t drink out of the hummingbird feeder but he likes to perch on top and chirp until I get near the window…he glances at me and then takes off…I love this photo taken yesterday….I got his profile…like he was posing and waiting on me.


About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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1 Response to The Study of Life Puts Us On “Course” with God

  1. bcparkison says:

    Oh Jakie I do understand. I don’t float very well my self.


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