How could I learn to Communicate effectively
If no one misunderstood me?

How could I learn Wisdom
Unless I misunderstood the knowledge I thought I had?
Unless I made mistakes and had to do it over again?

How could I learn Cleanliness
if the house never got dirty
and the dishes never got used
and kids never made a mess
and I never worked in the dirt
or built anything in a workspace?

How could I learn Persistence
Unless I fell
and fell again
and fell again?

How could I learn Courage to stand
Unless something terrified me?
and caused me to doubt what I believed in?

How could I learn to Understand
Unless someone disagreed with what I saw
Or experienced differently from me?

How could I learn to Share
If I never knew what it meant to own for myself?
Or I was given the burden of abundance?

How could I learn how to Work
Unless food had to be grown, harvested, and cooked,
…Homes needed to be built and maintained,
…Clothes needed to be made and mended,
…Children needed to be raised, taught, and disciplined
…Marriages needed to be kept alive,
…And personal weaknesses needed to be addressed?

How could I learn the value of Saving Money
Unless the pull of the marketplace
and the gambling hall beckoned me
to give it all to them?

How could I learn Integrity
Unless faced with
…a moment to deceive,
…a moment to compromise on principles of honor,
…a moment to take advantage of another,
…a moment to get gain without work,
…a moment to give up on your word.

How could I value the importance of Light
If I never experienced the Dark Moments?

How could I value the companionship of Life
Without the separation from Death?

How could I prize Freedom
Unless I lost it somehow?
And it was hard to regain?
And people kept trying to take it from me?
And succeeded at doing so?

How could I know the value of my Time
Unless my wife needed it
and my kids needed it
And my work demanded it
And my duties and responsibilities called for it
and my God asked me to give it to others
leaving less for me?

How could I learn to be Considerate
If I never realized that I was thoughtless and careless?
And that I hurt someone because of it?
And that someone needed to be considerate to me…for my sake?

How could I experience Peace
Without first experiencing tumult, storms, and struggle?

How would I learn to have Faith,
to Trust what I couldn’t see,
unless I am first faced with uncertainty?
And I was overwhelmed with Fear?
And I couldn’t solve it on my own?
And no one would ever be able to…
Except God?

How can I learn to Forgive
If I’ve never been offended?
Unless someone hated me?
Unless someone angrily misunderstood me?
Unless I offended someone…and needed it too?

How could I learn to have Compassion
Unless I noticed someone struggling?
Unless I struggled…and needed it from someone too?

How could I learn to give Mercy
Unless I desperately needed it first?
Unless someone desperately needed it from me?

How could I learn to truly Serve
Unless someone needed help?
And couldn’t afford to pay me back?
And I wouldn’t gain anything from it?
Not even a “Thank you”?

How could I learn Patience
Unless things were painfully slow,
Unless people were agonizingly clueless,
Unless expectations were never met,
Unless people failed me…
And I failed them too?

How could I learn Humility
Unless I experienced greatness…and then fell from it?
Unless others kept beating me to it?
Unless others who were great kept me from getting there?
Unless I couldn’t get what I wanted when I wanted it?
Unless I lost face, respect, position, favor, or acclaim?
Unless I fell? Unless I lost?
Unless I failed?
Unless I won…fair and square?
Unless I succeeded over someone else?

How could I learn Obedience to God
Unless I was tempted, enticed, and lulled to do otherwise?

How could I learn to choose Purity in thought and heart
If the tempting pull and allure
of promiscuous immorality,
of scantily-clad pornography,
and of addicting self-gratification
never presented themselves?

How could I Love others
Without first knowing what it felt to be unloved?
…and then being loved?
without finding others who felt unloved as well…
and then being given the chance to give it?

How could I strive to hear the whisperings of the voice of God
Without the cacophony of voices
calling for my attention
from my earphones
from my phone
from the marketplace, school, and work
and even from my home
from the contentions of society and churches
to the distortions of the news
and even the confusions in my heart and mind?

How could I learn that I needed God
Until I first discover that I had forgotten Him to begin with?
that I had consciously avoided Him?
That I was missing something great without Him?

How could I learn to Pray
Unless I had reason to fall to my knees
in despair,
in confusion,
in regret,
and in pain
and yes,
even in joy,
in gratitude,
in love,
and in humility?

How could I master these virtues
Unless I had the tests of everyday life
To prove myself?

And when I find myself struggling,
What is the Master Teacher teaching me?
What is it about Me
that I need to Learn?