It is said we learn either one of two ways: the easy way or the hard way. The theory is this — the easy way of learning things is via observing others and learning from their mistakes, versus the hard way, which is learning lessons from our own hard mistakes.
Apart from a wonderful time away, my first wedding anniversary will always be memorable for one of the hard lessons learned. Driving back from the south-west, complete with the guidance of a borrowed GPS, I was using the 5 kilometre error in my speedometer to take my speed to the limit. Normally I’m a very careful driver with my speed. As it happened I inched up and over the speed limit — in fact my vehicle was well over the 110 kph limit on a particular stretch of road that’s known for accidents — and one that’s heavily patrolled. The rest is history.
I was only temporarily over the limit but I’d been skating close to the edge for the entire weekend. It is plain to me now that the $150 fine and the two (2) demerit points I got for speeding are actually a huge blessing in disguise as I find God reminding me of the promise I made to obey all the road laws this year and beyond. I get $20 per fortnight pocket money and it will take three months to pay for the fine, but I’m glad because it is a good way of learning a hard lesson.
Some people might think that my thinking’s a little bizarre. But I know that paying for hard lessons with grace and acceptance is the best way of dealing with the pain and embarrassment that inevitably comes. It’s hard initially but easier in the longer run.
If you have a hard lesson to learn, learn it once and for all, as much as you possibly can and:
1. Don’t reject the lesson, skirting your responsibility. If you transgressed it is you that must pay.
2. Don’t get down on yourself — stay positive. If you can accept the lesson there’s no need to berate yourself.
3. Ensure that others, where possible, aren’t also punished for your mistakes — my wife shouldn’t have to ‘fund’ my fine from the family budget — that would punish her when she’s not at fault.
4. Make sure you apologize to people affected and seek their forgiveness also.
It is no real issue if you consider you’ve actually done everything to learn a lesson from a mistaken or erroneous action. The main thing is learning the lesson and then moving on. Don’t worry; if you haven’t in fact learned the lesson properly, you’ll no doubt get another chance — life seems to work out that way!