Sunday, July 09, 2006

Gifts and Curses

I had an English Lit professor my first year of college, who one day announced to the class: "The person with an excellent memory is cursed; he has no room left for original thought." He may have been quoting somebody else, but I took that to heart... and was devastated. I had an excellent memory. I could quote entire conversations verbatim, remembered stupid jingles from nursery school, knew all the counties in Maine in alphabetical order. Was I cursed?

This was the same professor who said all papers had to be typed, no exceptions; then made the exception for me because my printing was so perfect. If his sweeping generalizations were flawed in one area, might they not be flawed elsewhere? Why didn't I make that connection? I didn't. I stewed over my "curse".

I now know it was hog pucky, as has been much of the knowledge imparted to me in my lifetime. I've had to analyze life from my own perspective and come up with my own answers. I didn't do it in a vacuum, of course. I had lots of help, good and bad.

What I had going for me was potential. I believe potential is a God-given gift. I'll even say it may be what it means to be made in God's image. Think about it this way... When God spoke the first Word, the potential for creation was unleashed. It showered out of some void, creating a material Universe. One word set into motion a chain reaction, each choice in the beginning affecting and guiding the outcomes of a million events in the future.

Science has come far enough in its studies of the nature of the Universe to state that the laws of gravity, thermo-dynamics, etc... were all established early on. We originally decided they were separate laws, then came to understand they were all related. Even our potential for understanding has blossomed.

I'm not an intelligent design proponent. I don't think it's the answer to creationism. Both are stories we tell ourselves to make sense of a world we can't ever completely understand. Time seems linear to us, but it also has the potential to fold and unfold, and we get many chances in the ripples of our lives to develop and explore our own individual potentials.

I have (well I used to have) an excellent memory. Somebody told me that was a curse. At that point the potential for discovering and exploiting my own creativity hung in the balance. Did I accept the verdict and explore non-creative ways to get along for the rest of my life? For a little while I did. I've been unlucky in love a few times in my life. Was my potential for love squashed by those experiences? My expectations were shaped by them, certainly. But the potential is still there.

I said I thought potential was a gift. I do. But it's the way we perceive (and use) the gift that turns it into a curse. Life is not easy. It is a mystery, sometimes a very dark mystery. I don't have a lot of answers. But I have a lot of potential.

1 comment:

ACey said...

I'm glad you wrote this. Now I won't have to ;)