The Real Work –
It may be that when we no longer know what to do we have come to our real work,
And that when we no longer know which way to go we have come to our real journey,
The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
The impeded stream is one that sings.
– Wendell Berry
Digging through an old journal I found this copied from a web site – I had long forgotten these words of Wendell Berry. At the time I wrote them down I was in the middle of struggles with a hard class of students. They were students who had difficult lives and did not see the importances of learning or the importance of working hard towards a goal. That year was a struggle but it was work where we all learned a great deal.
Now many years later I see this writing again but as it applies to myself and the current writing and work I am doing out of the classroom. I often think the way forward for most people is easy. I wonder why I struggle so much. Then I run across words of a writer, a poet and I am reminded that we all struggle, we all are baffled when authentically working. We learn through the struggle.
We need to push against something in order to move forward. Roadblocks make us think from a different perspective. We build more muscle when we have resistance.
Here are a few other little notes I found stuck in my journal, literally – they were on little yellow sticky notes.
- Failure is normal
- Nobody knows how long it take to learn anything
- Work until you figure it out
- Learning is not fun – it is work!
- You need a just right challenge
- When learning is the goal there is no cheating
This tells me once again that life is really about learning and learning is about the struggle to understand, to develop new ways of seeing, new ways of hearing, thinking and new ways of working.
What are you baffled about? What struggle is making you sing these days?