I read the below in a very interesting book titled: The Road Less Traveled and Beyond by M. Scott Peck (NY: Simon & Schuster, 1997) p. 162-164. I hope you will like it. Please feel free to comment, like and share 🙂
“The most healing experience of my adolescence was a gift by a man who related to me out of the emptiness of not knowing, and who served as a wonderfully positive role model to boot. In A World Waiting to Be Born, I described how, at the age of fifteen and in the middle of my junior year, I decided to leave Exeter. As I look back on that turning point in my life, I am amazed at the grace that gave me the courage to do it. After all, not only was I dropping out of a prestigious prep school against my parents’ wishes, but I was walking away from a golden WASP track that had all been laid out for me. Hardly aware at that age just what I was doing, I was taking my first giant step out of my entire culture. That culture of the “establishment” was what one was supposed to aspire to, and I was throwing it away. And where was I to go? I was forging into the total unknown. I was so terrified that I thought I should seek the advice of some of Exeter’s faculty before finalizing such a dreadful decision. But which of the faculty?
The first who came to mind was my adviser. He had barely spoken to me for two and a half years, but he was reputedly kind. A second obvious candidate was the crusty old dean of the school, known to be beloved by thousands of alumni. But I thought that three was a good number, and the third choice was more difficult. I finally hit upon Mr. Lynch, my math teacher and a somewhat younger man. I chose him not because we had any relationship or because he seemed to be a particularly warm sort of person—indeed, I found him a rather cold, mathematical kind of fish—but because he had a reputation as the faculty genius. He had been involved with some kind of high-level mathematics on the Manhattan Project, and I thought I should check out my decision with a “genius.”
I went first to my kindly adviser, who let me talk for about two minutes and then gently broke in. “It’s true that you’re underachieving here at Exeter, Scotty,” he said, “but not so seriously that you won’t be able to graduate. It would be preferable for you to graduate from a school like Exeter with lesser grades than from a lesser school with better grades. It would also look bad on your record to switch horses in midstream. Besides, I’m sure your parents would be quite upset. So why don’t you just go along and do the best you can?”
Next I went to the crusty old dean. He let me speak for thirty seconds. “Exeter is the best school in the world,” he harrumphed. “Damn fool thing you’re thinking of doing. Now you just pull yourself up by the bootstraps, young man!”
Feeling worse and worse, I went to see Mr. Lynch. He let me talk myself out. It took about five minutes. Then he said he didn’t yet understand and asked if I would just talk some more—about Exeter, about my family, about God (he actually gave me permission to talk about God!), about anything that came into my head. So I rambled on for another ten minutes— fifteen minutes in all, which was pretty good for a depressed, inarticulate fifteen-year-old. When I was done, he inquired whether I would mind if he asked me some questions. Thriving on this adult attention, I replied, “Of course not,” and he queried me about many different things for the next half-hour.
Finally, after forty-five minutes in all, this supposedly cold fish sat back in his chair with a pained expression on his face and said, “I’m sorry. I can’t help you. I don’t have any advice to give you.
“You know,” he continued, “it’s impossible for one person to ever completely put himself in another person’s shoes. But insofar as I can put myself in your shoes—and I’m glad I’m not there—I don’t know what I would do if I were you. So, you see, I don’t know how to advise you. I’m sorry that I’ve been unable to help.”
It is just possible that that man saved my life. For when I entered Mr. Lynch’s office that morning some forty-five years ago, I was close to suicidal. And when I left, I felt as if a thousand pounds had been taken off my back. Because if a genius didn’t know what to do, then it was all right for me not to know what to do. And if I was considering a move that seemed so insane in the world’s terms, and a genius couldn’t tell me that it was clearly, obviously demented—well, then, maybe, just maybe, it was something God was calling me to.
So it was that that man, who didn’t have any answers or quick formulas, who didn’t know what I should do and chose to practice emptiness—it was that man who provided the help I needed. It was that man who listened to me, who gave me his time, who tried to put himself in my shoes, who extended himself and sacrificed himself for me. It was that man who loved me. And it was that man who healed me.
There are no simple or easy formulas. In handling all life experiences, we must endure a degree of emptiness and the agony of not knowing. As I wrote in Further Along the Road Less Traveled, there are many things we often go through life blaming others for. Since a big part of growing up is learning to forgive, each time we must reconsider and debate, “Should I blame or should I forgive?” Or, “Am I being loving or am I being a doormat?” Or simply, “What is the thing to do?” It is a decision that must be made again in each situation and every different time.”