The Quicksand of Learning

If you blog, this might sound familiar:  Partway through a post, but not yet finished.  That’s me, right now.  I’m slugging it out, slogging through the middle.


The “quicksand middle” is how I’ve come to think of it.  The more I struggle, the more difficult it seems to be.  Oddly, I have everything I need.  The idea is clear and the concept is complete.  The words are on the page, and the ending is within reach.


I think what it lacks is breathing.  The breathing in and out of life.


I blog about what I know and what I live, and sometimes the post needs more breathing to happen during its creation.  So, I set it down, and walk into the day ready to breathe life in and breathe life out.


I’m caught in the quicksand.  I’m in the middle, and I need to struggle.


That’s true of our learning, too.  Learning is beautiful and brilliant and extraordinary.  But it can also be frustrating and exhausting.  Sometimes it requires fighting our way through an idea.  We don’t always win every part of the fight, we don’t always see the fruit of our struggles, and sometimes we fail to reach what we had hoped for.  Yet, we are learning.


Many times we are caught in the “quicksand middle.”  We aren’t able to wrap our learning up in a tidy period and walk away with a fully formed new idea.  Instead, we are facing a new opportunity: the chance to carry our on-going learning into life and to let it live and breathe, and possibly to surprise us greatly.  The brave have stepped into the struggle, knowing that worthwhile learning requires an effort and a commitment.


So, it occurs to me that the “quicksand middle” is an admirable place to be.  It’s a place of courage and growth and struggle.  It’s a place of stretching and discovering and persevering.  Eventually, it’s the place from which we will hopefully arise, stepping out, dripping with the quicksand of learning running off of our elbows and ankles.  We’ll be stronger and brighter, braver and more powerful.  We’ll be ready to take another brave step.


But just for a moment, it would also be a good time to reflect, to look back, and remember that the middle of the struggle was a very important place to be.  The Quicksand of Learning.

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