I wake at night in the classroom with God
go to His desk to watch Him marking my day.
“Here,” He says, “see your anger when you were kept waiting
your rudeness when disturbed
your defensiveness when criticized?
These are all places the theory you know in your head
those textbook passages you can say by memory
could have been applied.”
My face reddens and I crumple in shame.
Knowing how to use the formulas I can say by rote
to solve the equations of life
–in spite of review after review–
continues to confound me.
But His loving eyes reach deep into my spirit.
“Don’t worry girl,” He says, drawing me up.
“This is not your final grade.
I have planned for you a lifetime
of projects, quizzes and tests
each designed to give you
Getting it wrong is also teaching you
how to get it right.”
© 2016 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)
I see by the various versions of “Night Class” in my files that I first wrote it in 2007. I was reminded me of that old poem when, a few days ago, I read “The Temple of Memory” by John O’Donohue:
The Temple of Memory
When you visit the wounds within the temple of memory, you should not blame yourself for making bad mistakes that you greatly regret. Sometimes you have grown unexpectedly through these mistakes. Frequently, in a journey of the soul, the most precious moments are the mistakes. They have brought you to a place that you would otherwise have avoided. You should bring a compassionate mindfulness to your mistakes and wounds. Endeavor to inhabit the rhythm you were in at that time. If you visit this configuration of your soul with forgiveness in your heart, it will fall into place itself. When you forgive yourself, the inner wounds begin to heal. You come in out of the exile of hurt into the joy of inner belonging.
– John O’Donohue Excerpt from ANAM CARA
I love this part of O’Donohue’s piece:
“You should bring a compassionate mindfulness (my one-little-word of the year) to your mistakes and wounds. …When you forgive yourself, the inner wounds begin to heal.”
May we do that –forgive ourselves– as we press ahead on the spiritual journey.
3 thoughts on “Night Class”
“Getting it wrong is teaching you how to get it right.” I think I need to share this motto with my students. They so often want to be right on the first try. I am learning more and more to forgive myself.
Thanks, Margaret. It’s so important, isn’t it, to forgive ourselves! Good to learn it at a young age too!
Love the familial feel of this, Violet!