August 27, 2020
“the spirit of wisdom came to me” Wisdom 7:7
This week’s Thursday Reflection is from lay leader Maryse Quinn who can be heard Wednesday morning leading Morning Prayer and reading various Sundays.
survivor graduate of the New York State public school system. One of the requirements was to complete a year of Health class. One day, the teacher wrote a series of words on the board: Health, Family, Travel, Education, Wealth, Fame, Athleticism, etc. We were each told to choose the one word that represented what we wanted most in life.
I chose Wisdom. “Really? Are you sure?” my teacher asked. I told him I was. “Why did you choose that?” Because, I told him, having education was important, but you needed to know how to use knowledge properly. He informed me that in the 15+ years that he had been teaching this class, I was the first student to choose Wisdom.
So, where does one get Wisdom? There’s a variety of ways to, if not acquire it, at least work toward developing it. What works for me:
Reading. Read fiction, read non-fiction, read poetry, read works written by people from different cultures, different eras, different walks of life. Learn from their successes and failures. Discover how they see the world.
Listening to people. One of my favorite memes shows a young Caucasian girl sitting next to an elderly African American man; both wear t-shirts. The girl’s reads: “Talk to young people. They know cool stuff you don’t.” The man’s reads: “Talk to old people. They know cool stuff you don’t.” But the key to finding Wisdom from conversations is to listen.
Rest. There are different ways to rest. Sleep, of course, is one way. Develop a hobby you enjoy. Take a walk in the woods. Turn off the electronics (says the woman who’s typing on a laptop). If you’re on social media, get off social media. (There’s a saying that “My desire to remain informed is currently at odds with my need to remain sane.” I think we all know how that feels right now.) Spend one morning watching the sun rise, or one evening watching it set. Listen to good music.
So, have I acquired Wisdom? Sometimes. There are situations where I can offer a suggestion that works, or an idea that solves a problem and satisfies everyone involved. Sometimes, not so much. That’s when I like to think I’m wise enough to remain silent and learn Wisdom from a whole new experience.
Let me leave you with one of my favorite Wisdom encounters, from the Book of Wisdom, which is part of the Apocrypha. Not many denominations use it anymore, which is unfortunate, because there’s some lovely language in there:
7 Therefore I prayed, and understanding was given me; I called on God, and the spirit of wisdom came to me. 8 I preferred her to sceptres and thrones, and I accounted wealth as nothing in comparison with her. 9 Neither did I liken to her any priceless gem, because all gold is but a little sand in her sight, and silver will be accounted as clay before her. 10 I loved her more than health and beauty, and I chose to have her rather than light, because her radiance never ceases. 11 All good things came to me along with her, and in her hands uncounted wealth. (Wisdom 7:7 – 11)
My search continues….