Saturday, March 13, 2010

Experiential Learning

Most hours I am running interference between danger and a curious one year old. And I can see that language and learning are built on tangible experience. Experience tasting the door knobs, opening and closing cupboards, banging pots together, squeezing lotion from the bottle and hiding the same shoe under a blankie over and over and over. Things sharp and shiny spark interest. If there is a good chance it can fall on her or she can fall off it, Peanut will fake left and duck right. Like Shackleton on his quest to the icy edge of the earth, she cannot be deterred. She is filling her mind by the work of her busy little hands, deepening meaning with each experiment, moving from concrete to abstract.

So it is getting to know God. I desire to understand my maker. To speak about his presence in my life and season my thoughts with sound theology. But this work involves my hands. Before I can speak, I must experience. Experience the cool, refreshing waters of obedience and the blisters on my heel from the steep and craggy decent into the valley of the shadow.

And like my daughter, sometimes those experiences turn my mouth inky black. The evidence of my learning dripping off my chin and staining my shirt. Those days I pray that the markers I color with are washable. But there are also the days when my heavenly father hands me a juicy orange. As I peel, citrus pith works its way under my nails and juice runs down my shirt sleeve to pool at the elbow. The fruit is sweet. The memory of taste lingers, the fragrance is registered in the ancient olfactory files. This I will remember. Even in the dark. Even after considerable time has passed.

“Taste and see that the Lord is good.” Psalm 34:8

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