Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Progressive Retreat

Still not bedazzled.
This week's discussion of Mere Christianity is on Chapter 5: We Have Cause to be Uneasy.

We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive. (Mere Christianity, p.36)

God bless Clive, he expressed my problem with stubbornness to the letter.   He even goes on to describe a math problem.   That was always my problem in math:  admitting that the time I spent on a problem was wasted and I needed to start over.  

I never could grasp the notion "You learn from your mistakes."   My daddy always said "SMART people learn from other people's mistakes."   I seem to have interpreted that to mean that I can only learn from my mistakes if I'm dumb enough to admit them.  I know my daddy meant well by not leaving an excuse hanging there, but looking back, I don't think it kept me from making mistakes, just admitting them and turning around.

Changing my mind was also seen as a weakness.   Any decision, even the buying of curtains that turn out not to match the kitchen, has to be lived with until said curtains wear out, or it's time to repaint the kitchen.  (The colors in the kitchen also have to be lived with until paint chips.  Then it will be hard for me to decide on a color because I know I'll have to live with it forever an a day.  I have, however, shaken things up by moving the kitchen curtains in the bedroom and the bedroom curtains in the kitchen, which is working out rather nicely for us.)

Not THE floor lamp, but similar to it.
How does my husband feel about this?  I think he'd rather be married to a woman who considers it her prerogative to change her mind than to a woman who argued with him for purchasing the wrong lamp and then argued that I didn't want him to take it back.   I didn't want the Customer Service department at Value City to think of us as weak, even though this kind of thing is actually in their job description. Funny thing is, he won that argument, and I enjoy that floor lamp!  I can be so indecisive sometimes because I know I can't turn back that I make him twitchy.    I can also cause tension by insisting that retreat equal defeat.

There is no denying, though, that Clive makes a good point that I need to take to heart and ponder.  It may lead to the solution of more problems than of which I am aware.   After all, he was talking about spiritual and intellectual stuff, not about decorating my kitchen.  Though I'm sure he would have been most happy to help with it.   Then my husband could have handed him a paint brush when he okayed painting the kitchen lilac, with white trim.  

What progress awaits me?  I don't know yet.  I suppose I have to turn back and find out.

Does Homedepot™ sell drop cloths?

This week, my friend Sarah at "Living Between the Lines" is hosting the book discussion on Chapter 5 of Mere Christianity. Click here to join her.


Glynn said...

I love the Lewis definition of "progressive." A lot of politicans could learn something from that. Good post, Helen.

katdish said...

I read a quote yesterday that i've seen before. I'm probably butchering it, but I think it goes:

Experience is the best teacher but the tuition is high.

As difficult as it may be to admit making mistakes there are certain circumstances where experiencing failure is the only way to learn. I didn't get married until I was 30. By then, I not only knew what I wanted, but more importantly what I didn't want.

Anonymous said...

I love your stories here, Helen. I know what you mean about making a decision and sticking to it and seeing anything else as weak. We're taught that in all sorts of arenas, but the simplest definition of repent is 'turn around.' Many times, that's all we can do: turn around for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Great post. Thank you.