Tuesday, 16 June 2015

THE VALUE OF PERSISTANCE

I remember well the final two weeks of grade twelve. The mathematics course I took forty years ago drove me crazy. Even though it wasn't the most advance course, I couldn't comprehend how fractions could be multiplied and divided.

"Why can't you get it?" my math teacher would exclaim often when I turned in another test paper filled with mistakes. I didn't know the answer then but I now believe that I wasn't able to visualize what was going on in the equations he taught me.

One Wednesday evening, when a woman I call Sister Eileen drove me home from church, I poured out my complaint to her. "I'm so tempted to drop out of that course and try again in September," I finished.

"Don't drop out," she admonished as she parked in front of the house in which I rented a basement room. "You only have two weeks to go. If you quit now, you'll have to spend three months doing the same course over."

I pondered what she said as we sat in her car. It did make sense that I would have to work longer to get my high school diploma. On the other hand, the course felt like pure torture. How well I identified with Alice Cooper's "School's Out" hit record.

Another song which helped me plow through those final days was "Hold On" by John Lennon. I added my name into the lyrics and sang them to myself whenever I felt like I couldn't take one more humiliating day.

I'm glad I hung in there and finished the course. Though my mark was forty, the teacher felt sorry for me and added five more percent so I wouldn't get an F. Because I continued with that agonizing class, I was able to get my high school diploma at the end of June and have a worry-free summer.

Because I stuck with the class, I was able to attend a job and mobility training course at the Canadian National Institute for the Blind in Toronto that September. If I hadn't heeded Sister Eileen's advice, I would have had three more months of slogging my way through the same math problems which I couldn't understand.

As for that summer and the subsequent trip to Toronto, I wrote about it in a book called How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. Read more about how God providentially led me to a true understanding of him at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Powell's Books.