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"Mom, I made a really big Italian mark!" my son called out from the living room.
"You made a what?" I called back, confused.
"A really big Italian mark!" I hurried over to where he was working on his math. I couldn't help but laugh.
"You mean tally mark…that's called a tally mark."
"Why is it called that?" he asked, naturally.
"Ummm…Well, I'll have to look it up, but I can tell you that more cultures than just Italians use it!"
Yes, my son LOVES math. He obviously takes after his father.
For me, working with numbers was fine until I neared high school. Suddenly, my writer's brain couldn't make sense of Algebra. For the first time, I had to learn another meaning behind earning my education!
I discovered the delight of burning the midnight oil as I poured over my homework, trying desperately to make x + y = z. Finally, one day as I was studying for an important test, my mom found me lamenting over my work, softly banging my head on the table.
"Why is this so hard for you?" she asked. I didn't think she could understand. My mom, after all, was a former NASA employee, incredibly gifted in the field of numbers, charts and equations.
"Mom, I just don't get it," I started. She sat down next to me.
"What don't you get?" Her voice carried convincing notes of sympathy.
"Well, it tells me that this formula will produce this result, but why? Why does it have to be done that way? Why can't I do the problem another way if I end up with the same result?"
"Will you end up with the same result?" she asked.
"I'm pretty sure…." and I quickly attacked a problem the way I thought it should be done to demonstrate my supreme wisdom.
To my disappointment, the answer was close, but not correct.
"Let me try another one…." (I had serious pride issues back then…well, maybe not just back then…)
My mother waited patiently as I went after another problem, determined to prove that my way was best.
Again, the answer came close, but fell short of being correct.
I looked at my mom, slightly embarrassed. She smiled.
"There are many times in life when we just have to trust that things are so. We have to trust that even though we don't understand, what we are being told is true. This is one of those times. Brilliant mathematicians came up with these formulas…I think it is safe to say that these formulas are correct, especially as they have been developed and refined over time by many, many more brilliant minds."
I leaned back in my chair with an air of surrender. I knew she had a point. Just because I struggled did not mean that following these formulas was a wrong way of going about things…it just meant that I needed to work harder to do my best to follow the way already paved for me.
Amazingly, I have never forgotten that conversation. And it happened quite a long time ago. (OK…maybe not that long ago; I am only 21, after all!)
Seriously, though, I took away more than my mom would have ever guessed. Once I quit trying to buck the system and accepted that perhaps others knew more than I did, I began to do very well in Algebra. I even ended up with an A at the end of the year.
Would I have ever achieved my goal of a good grade by following my own plan and design? Nope. Definitely not.
And it doesn't take a rocket scientist to take it a step further and apply this concept to God's plan for us.
So many times I try so hard to achieve a certain dream or to reach a certain goal using my own plan of attack. Never mind that God might have a different plan. And, even if I feel strongly that I know what God wants as my end goal, it doesn't seem to matter much that He has already paved a way for me. I have my own plan of how I am going to achieve success.
Why does it matter if I reach the same result doing it my way?
Well, that's pretty easy…I really won't reach the same result. In life, how we get there means just as much as actually getting there.
The journey really is just as important as the destination. Only the Divine, Omnipotent God could ever possibly know the importance of each growth in virtue, the significance of each soul we meet, and the gravity of every decision we make.
The Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End….
The Creator of the Universe and time itself…..
If success is what I'm after, then I think I know who's plans I had better follow!!
"There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, "Thy will be done," and those to whom God says, "All right, then, have it your way." C.S. Lewis
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Hi! I'm a Catholic mom who loves to encourage and support others in their journey to live the beauty of our Catholic faith in a modern world. It can be a struggle, no doubt, but God has given us the tools we need! Join my family (both immediate and extended!) and me as we take on this incredible journey of our path to holiness.
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