“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” is the opening line in Charles Dickens’ “Tale of Two Cities”.
Odd as that may seem, it can be true.
Enrolling in college classes seems innocuous. People register for the class, they attend lectures, they make new friends and they learn. Thousands do it everyday. The level of involvement may vary. The interest level may fluctuate.
When I enrolled in my first college class, I was 26. I was a minister’s wife, and had two children. My daughter had undergone 11 surgeries. I had married right out of high school. My husband’s work took us to many states. Each move meant a whole new establishment of medical support. My life was wrapped around my husband, my children and my church. My scope of existence was lived in a glass bowl under the scrutiny of a thousand eyes that watched my every move.
When my children went to school, so did I. I enrolled in one class at the local community college. I fell in love with learning. I learned new things, and my world cracked open. It took me nine years to obtain my college degree. Beyond that degree, college taught me to seek; to question and research and to be open to the discovery.
Funny thing about a world that cracks open. The previous foundation for what I believed began to shake. The truths that were infallible became flawed. Going though a personal transformation was painful. There were many who did not want me to change. Ultimately, it resulted in the death of many friendships and of my long marriage. But it birthed me.
The decade of my 40’s was the best of times-as I became more at peace and in harmony with myself and my worldview, and it was the worse of times-as I had to say goodbye to the previous familiar way of life.
“Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but-I hope-into a better shape.” Charles Dickens in “Great Expectations”