Last year, on one of my morning commutes to work, I picked up a hitchhiker. His name is Clyde. I noticed him shortly after I left my house standing next to my driver side window. I didn’t invite him, nor did he ask permission, but he took it upon himself to hop onto my car and coast for about 15 miles. Though I expected him to fly off once we picked up speed, he was committed. His tiny legs gripped my car while his compact body was tousled by the winds of momentum. He was certainly determined. At every stop sign, I thought he would continue on his journey without me, but he stayed. And stayed. And stayed… Fifteen miles later, as I was at a standstill on the highway, he let me take his picture. Only after I captured his image did he say good-bye, but he left me with more than a photograph.
I’m grateful to have met Clyde. Clyde was fearless. He knew what he wanted and he wasn’t ashamed to get some help. He knew my cardinal red Hyundai was much bigger than he was and exponentially faster than what his wings could achieve. He knew he didn’t have to tire himself by doing the hard work alone. He could place some of his burden on my car and cover some of his trip in a fraction of the time it would have taken him otherwise. I would love to say I’m like my friend Clyde, but, for much of my life, I have relied on my own strength. Certainly no one told me I couldn’t ask for help, but over the years, I had programmed myself to believe that if I couldn’t take care of things on my own, then that was a weakness. If there was a need, I did my best to do all I could to get it done. (Major emphasis on the “I”) And when I failed, sitting in a stupor of exhaustion, I would reflect and dream of how it could have turned out, if only…
One of the many benefits of time is that it brings with it the gift of wisdom and understanding if we are willing to accept it. And we learn that almost anywhere we look, there are people. All types of people. Sure, some leave us scratching our heads wondering why they do what they do, but for the most part, there are good and kind and helpful people. Those that have experiences and knowledge that far surpass our own. Those who possess strengths that we can glean from. And we are not meant to do life alone. When we allow ourselves to sit under a mentor, learn from a friend, study from those who have already travelled our paths, we will find that our journey from point “A” to point “B” will not only be more expedient, but streamlined, efficient, and purposeful.
Whatever the destination, there is someone we can yoke ourselves to and share the burdens of our existence with. Teachers come in all forms, and sometimes in the unlikeliest of companions, but seek wisdom and you’ll find it “for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her.” Proverbs 8:11 ESV Our greatest Teacher is always waiting for us to hold onto Him and travel with Him so He can strengthen us when we need it most. Jesus says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11: 29-30 ESV
Clyde didn’t reach his destination when he left. He had to fly on his own a bit as well. And, like Clyde, we won’t, and shouldn’t, be carried along for the entire ride. The best way to learn is to walk our own steps and, yes, make mistakes along the way. It is ok to stumble a bit and maybe take a wrong turn or two. But I now know that it is not weakness to seek out a travel companion. In fact, it is courageous to rise above the pressure and grab onto a greater vehicle.
Learning doesn’t end when we walk at commencement; in fact, I would say that is where life study begins and will continue for the remainder of our days. And during our expeditions, Jesus reminds us that it is ok to ask for help, especially from Him. We don’t have everything it takes to take care of everything. But with humility and an open heart, we can learn from the best.