I've always loved the thought of life being a journey. This walk we take and share with those around us. I love the thought of taking this journey with my husband especially. That we CHOSE to walk together through life always pulls at my heart strings. Neither of us would have taken this exact path if we had not chosen to walk together. I know that very well... but I also know that this path is MUCH more interesting with him than it would have been without him. We have made choices to take certain directions that neither of us would have been brave enough or maybe foolish enough to have take without the other their by our side. So where do the learning centers come into play. I have many Christians in my life. We often refer to our Christian life as a walk with Christ... or towards Christ. I love that analogy. That we are walking along together towards becoming more Christlike. Sometimes though I get the feeling that some of those on this walk feel that they are somehow "further along" on the walk. I can't count the number of times I've heard people ask others "how long" they've been a Christian. Maybe I'm missing the point of the question, but the follow up comments are usually along th lines of the asker being a "mature Christian" and the other person must be a "young" Christian.
Why is it that I hear bells go off or red flags waving when I hear this? Is there some hierarchy of Christianity? REALLY????? I do understand maturity and having been through different struggles and maybe having experienced certain things that someone else may not have or is just facing. I also really think that just because something APPEARS to be the same issue it never REALLY is because of the different people involved, life experiences that this person may have that I did not, general circumstances etc. Just because I experienced "x" doesn't mean that your "x" is the same or that you will experience it as I did. None of us are REALLY farther along than anyone else.... not really. Our experiences, feelings and reactions are all going to be unique. We can offer support to each other and sometimes we should... sometimes it is best to stay off to the side and be there IF the other person seeks your support. Prayer is always the best support... and not always necessary to tell the other person... it can be seen as condenscending if you tell someone you are praying for THEM when in actuality you are judging them and not REALLY understanding THEIR experience as it is for them but rather projecting your own feeling and thoughts onto an issue that LOOKS familiar to you. (in other words it might not be as similar as you think... you are not omniscient :)
So I now see life as a great big kindergarten classroom filled with Learning Centers. We all go from one center to another at our own pace, sometimes giving up too soon or getting bored before we actually fully "get" what we are supposed to learn at that center but it's okay because the center will still be there for us to try again later. Some centers will come easy to us and we may want to stay there for a while... maybe even "help" the next person who comes to that center, but it's always best to move along so someone else can take a turn. Who knows it may be that it seemed easy but maybe we missed some of the finer points. Again, it's okay, the center will still be there if we need to come back to it. Some of us may start to think we've been to ALL of the centers and we are ready to move onto First grade. What we don't realize is that life may just be about what we learn in Kindergarten (they even wrote a book about that) and the rest of life is applying and relearning those lessons and skills. We're all in this classroom filled with Learning Centers together. None of us have learned all we need to learn and even if we are the star of the class, there is always someone, (that we least expect usually) who can teach us a thing or two. There is only one Teacher and only He can show us to the next Learning Center when He thinks we are ready for it.