Tuesday, September 2, 2014

I Found a Loose Whale!

It's September, and everyone seems to be posting things related to back-to-school. So, in keeping with that theme, I've decided to jump on the bandwagon and talk about learning styles. Here is what that pesky gnat buzzing around my head might have heard the other day on the trail:

Me: So, are we following the blue trail?
Brian: No, we're taking the light green trail to the white trail.
Me (5 minutes later): So, we're taking the blue trail, right?
Brian: No, we're taking the light green trail to the white trail.
Me (another 5 minutes later): Are we taking the yellow trail now?
Brian: No, the yellow trail intersects with the light green trail, but we are not taking it. We're following the light green trail to the white trail.

Obviously, I am not an auditory learner. No wonder the gnat left. I'm surprised Brian didn't. I don't stop for directions; not because I'm a man, but because I won't remember. My eyes glaze over after the second traffic light and the first left. Sometimes, I'm a visual learner, but I generally have to read directions over and over and by that time, I've only gotten to step one and am ready to throw the thing up against the wall (and have most likely done so at times).

While there are said to be seven learning styles, most of us are familiar with the basic three: Auditory, Visual and Kinesthetic, or Tactile. That's me-tactile. Hands on. I learn by doing. I can most likely hike that trail again, now that I've actually done it once (ironically, we were going in the reverse direction of what "The Book" told us to do, so I wasn't actually wrong. The book did tell us to follow the blue trail and we would end up on the light green trail coming back).

Four hours later, when we were actually on the lower section of the white trail, we were getting pretty tired. It was a strenuous hike with a lot of ups and downs (see yesterday's blog). Brian was about 200 yards ahead. All was quiet as we individually "hiked our own hike." Suddenly, I heard this:

Brian: I found a loose whale!
Me (hesitating): You found a whaaaat?
Brian: I found a loose whale!

Over there-in the reservoir!

He was so excited about this loose whale! Along with being a mostly tactile learner, I also take what people say at face value. I believe what I'm told. So, in that millisecond right after he made his declaration, I began to search for this loose whale! I thought, "You know God, I realize that you often speak to me in these woods, but really...Jonah? What's up with that?" I was startled out of my reverie by Brian's loud voice, which, echoing in the woods, seemed even louder.


Ooooooooh! Of course...the blue trail. The one that I kept asking if we were following at the beginning of the hike, when we actually had energy and stamina. The one which would mean that we are on the home stretch. The blue trail, not a loose whale. Faith comes from hearing the message and the message is heard through the word of Christ. Yikes! I'm in trouble. 

Might I venture to say that because there are learning styles, might there be a difference in how we learn from God? What's right for one person may be boring for another. Brian likes to listen to the bible on cd. I'd fall asleep at the wheel. Or just hear blahblahblah in the background. Several people recommended that I read, Killing Jesus by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard. I couldn't get past the Roman history and wars and everyone named Caesar. I'm sure it's a very good read, just not for me. But a word or a phrase or a verse might hit me and I can spend hours cross-referencing and researching the meaning of that word. In a way, I suppose that's tactile. I'm sort of "touching" the words. For me, that is time well-spent learning and hearing from God. 

God made some to be evangelists, some to be teachers, some to be preachers. Some to be leaders and some to be followers. Some learn by seeing, some learn by hearing and others learn by doing. There is no right or wrong way of learning. One is not better than the other. I think that we need to be very careful not to presume that everyone else will like what we like; hear what we hear, see how we see and find pleasure in doing what we like to do. Similarly, we ought not get offended if someone doesn't take our suggestion to do something a certain way...or at all! 

Let's let everyone be who they were designed to be, and to learn in the manner God gave them to learn. Otherwise, we'll run the risk of squelching the desire to learn altogether.

And the next time you see a whale on the loose, think of me.

Blessings Along the Path,

Sharing this post with Judith at Wholehearted Wednesday


  1. That's a great lesson Mary! Faith definitely does come by hearing the word of the Lord,but I think it's mostly from our own mouth! We can have bad faith. Such as telling ourselves things like, I'm gonna see a bear today. Or we can have good faith, as in i'm not gonna see a bear today. The best faith comes from the word of God spoken by us over and over again. My enemies come at me in one direction and flee in seven directions! I can just visualize an enemy coming at me, seeing an angel of the Lord protecting me, and fleeing in terror! I know that angels are terrifying because they always had to say fear not whenever they manifest to men. Also the only enemy we truly have is spirit. And so all enemies can see our protective angels! We must only believe the word!