I was reading an article on Barnacles and liberal education and how education can help us stop being barnacles by opening up our lives to new thoughts, new ideas, new ways of living rather than just sticking to our comfortable rocks and not growing. I was especially struck by this quote:
Meaning is not something you stumble across, like the answer to a riddle or the prize in a treasure hunt. Meaning is something you build into your life. You build it out of your own past, out of your affections and loyalties, out of the experience of humankind as it is passed on to you, out of your own talent and understanding, out of the things you believe in, out of the things and people you love, out of the values for which you are willing to sacrifice something. The ingredients are there. You are the only one who can put them together into that unique pattern that will be your life. Let it be a life that has dignity and meaning for you. If it does, then the particular balance of success or failure is of less account.
However, it’s not just a liberal education that can lead to growth and building meaning into our lives. How many times have I clung to my comfortable rock of sin and had the Lord gently pry me loose so that I could live more fully and freely in obedience to Him? How many times have I wanted to hide from being known and had a friend pry me loose and convince me to trust and be vulnerable so that I could have deeper fellowship? How many times have I wanted to cling to my own idea of the world and had a book, or more often, God’s Word open my eyes to my ignorance so that my life was enriched and new horizons beckoned? The Lord Himself, the relationships He has allowed in my life, the books He brings across my path and other things as well pry me out of my comfort zone, give rich meaning to my life, open my world to great and glorious visions, and fill my days with laughter, goodness, beauty, and truth. How thankful I am for learning to swim rather than to stay a barnacle.
2 thoughts on “Barnacles”
I haven’t found much time to comment, Joy, but I wanted to let you know that I am enjoying your blog. Good for you to take of the challenge of writing on your reading. I’ve long been intending to that but the other quotidian events get more more press on my blog–it’s easier to narrate an event, I think, and as time passes by so quickly these days, they are events I want to remember. BUT, I am encouraged by your efforts, I hope to do at least an annotated bibliography for the books I read last year (before it is too far into this year!) And now, thanks to your last two posts, I have two more articles to read : ) Good thoughts!
Thank you for your response, Melissa. I am enjoying pondering aloud even if no one reads it. I find that when I write what I’m thinking, I’m able to see things more clearly and make connections that I might not have made otherwise. I’m glad that it has been an encouragement to you and look forward to your annotated biography (what a great idea!).