Without knowledge, I could not play the violin. Without wisdom, I could not play the music.

~Unknown

[I] have been reading and studying as of late in regard to knowledge and wisdom. This micro journey has led me into a personal discussion of formal education versus experiential learning. A journey, which has once again moved me towards consideration of our cooperative efforts at Joy Squared.

Deb and I had the pleasure and honor of going to the Stoner’s house this last Friday evening to prepare beef, bean and cheese burritos for our friends at Mary’s. Always a blessing to move outside myself, offering a medicine of sorts for my tendency towards selfishness; ok, borderline narcissism. Every chance I have and every choice I make to do something for another person takes me one step closer to being the person I desire to be. Is it about “works” and or the process of earning something? No, not earning but simply and cheerfully participating as my heart changes and grows in the fullness of grace; unmerited favor which has been poured out upon me. Grace received not only from my Abba but also from those of the human persuasion who accept and love me, character defects and all.

Many words could be used to describe my initial level of usefulness in burrito construction. I laugh to myself as I consider some of the words used by those in the room and some of my own words muttered internally to describe my efforts. I will be satisfied in this setting to use the words,”slow-minded”. Fifty-five years old and I have never “folded” nor “rolled” a burrito previous to this last Friday evening. Dan, being savant like in his folding and rolling, took me, well at least temporarily took me under his wing. His burrito work, mind you, is known as some of the finest in these parts. Dan showed me and then watched as I attempted to repeat his instruction. He laughed and showed me again; same result. He laughed louder, demonstrating the proper technique once more; same result. Picture this now repeated six or seven more times and then kindly picture Dan, as gently and kindheartedly as Dan is capable, removing me from the burrito construction area and placing me with the less technical ground beef browning team.

Eventually I was allowed back with the folders and the rollers, achieving by the end of my shift a self assessed “C+”. I slept peacefully knowing it was not the fold and roll but rather the contents of the burrito coupled with the level of love spent by the production team, which would win or lose the burrito day. In all seriousness though, there was a disconnect, a failure on my part in following even these simplest of instructions. I was not attempting to be a smart Alec, I was not being the class clown to get an easy laugh. I really, for some reason, was unable to require or even allow my brain to send the proper electrical signals, which would then cause my arms, my hands and my fingers to successfully fold and roll. In hind sight this somewhat humorous event caused me to pause and consider how I learn, what methods of teaching are most effective for me in the retention of knowledge. Generally, if I am humble enough to be teachable, I can be shown something and if I have opportunity to repeat the action enough times, it will stick. The beauty of and in knowledge is that once obtained, it with refinement and application will eventually be converted into wisdom.

The once again long winded point would be this: I have asked many of you who may be reading this blog to consider moving out of the kitchen occasionally, thus allowing a move into the lives of those whom we serve. I have asked this of you while never really considering how it is that you best learn. How you might go about learning, seeking knowledge and eventually obtaining wisdom. It has dawned upon me that maybe some of you do want to make the move out of the kitchen and into relationship with those we are honored to serve but may simply be paralyzed by the varied means and methods. Possibly you are coming to realize that the real, lasting and true blessings are to be found in these relationships, but you are nervous or uncertain as how to initiate and communicate with our friends. There are a number of us, who though life experience or other factors can easily move amongst, communicate with and love those who many in our society would deem unlovable. Understand, while not a burrito building savant, possibly I and others have a touch of homeless savant about us. My sincere invitation to you who desire these relationships and the subsequent blessings I endlessly speak of would be that you seek myself, Dan or others to walk alongside you. Allow us to walk alongside you, making introductions, sitting with, laughing with and crying with. Allow us the honor of being involved in the process of your becoming comfortable as you take your service to a level and then rewards beyond your wildest imagination. Please rest assured that in this, we are at your service.

~Scott

Ps The burritos, no thanks to me, were a smashing success. “These are the best burritos I have ever had” and “The burritos were first rate”.

Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid

~Albert Einstien